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Sometimes I believe trouble - and women - are gonna take poor Lightnin' to his grave - Lightnin' Hopkins, Tired of Trouble

Author Topic: 1927 highwater camps and mistreatment  (Read 766 times)

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Offline wreid75

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1927 highwater camps and mistreatment
« on: August 25, 2013, 05:11:19 PM »
I have been reading up on the treatment of blacks during the aftermath of the 1927 flood.  Did any of the blues players ever discuss having to live in any of the camps the red cross set up and if so can you either source it so I can find it or give a rundown.  I can't imagine that none of them were forced to endure those awful places and the red cross did get local musicians to provide entertainment.  Thanks guys..................and gals!

Offline Rivers

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Re: 1927 highwater camps and mistreatment
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2013, 10:50:58 PM »
Reading up where exactly? We may find it easier to comment on specific references, rather than in general.

Offline wreid75

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Re: 1927 highwater camps and mistreatment
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2013, 01:44:42 PM »
I began reading Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America, then I read When The Levee Breaks: Race Relations and The Mississippi Flood of 1927  http://castle.eiu.edu/historia/archives/2008/Historia2008Swinford.pdf,  When the Levee Breaks: Black Migration and Economic Development
in the American South at http://economics.uchicago.edu/workshops/Naidu%20Suresh%20%20When%20the%20Levee%20Breaks.pdf, Richard Wrights Flood stories http://www.pipeline.com/~rougeforum/floodstories.html , and other sources I can't remember being at work.  A very bleak picture of life in the camps are quickly portrayed.  I know that there are several songs that reference the high water and flood of 1927 but I don't recall any interviews from people who recalled being in the camps themselves.  The Red Cross had several of the camps spread out along the Mississippi and the people there were treated as strange hybrids of slave labor and incarcerated inmate.  I hope that gives a little more detail.  Thanks       

Offline dj

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Re: 1927 highwater camps and mistreatment
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2013, 02:21:29 PM »
It's an interesting subject, but unfortunately one I've read nothing about.  I'd suggest checking the indexes of those books for the names of singers, and checking the bibliographies and footnotes to see who and where eyewitness accounts came from.

Offline eric

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Re: 1927 highwater camps and mistreatment
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2013, 03:35:27 PM »
I'd recommend Rising Tide to anyone interested the history of the Delta, the 1927 Flood or the way we manage rivers.  Excellent book, but I don't recall any references to bluesmen.  Fred McDowell plays Red Cross Store, which I believe to be a reference to the segregated forced labor camps set up after the flood that were controlled by plantation owners.
--
Eric

Offline wreid75

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Re: 1927 highwater camps and mistreatment
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2013, 01:59:18 PM »
So about 20 years ago I met two old men who were prison guards at Parchman farm during the flood.  They said that all inmates were working the levees and banks and that the police rounded up every black and poor white male they found on the streets.  They even went banging on doors and took people trying to protect their homes.  Some of the things they talked about was horrible and doubtful anyone would want to hear about.

Now if I am not mistaken wasn't Son House in Parchman during this time or am I off by a year?

Offline dj

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Re: 1927 highwater camps and mistreatment
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2013, 02:23:31 PM »
Quote
Now if I am not mistaken wasn't Son House in Parchman during this time or am I off by a year?

Son House shot Leroy Lee in 1928.  He was not imprisoned during the 1927 flood.

Offline wreid75

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Re: 1927 highwater camps and mistreatment
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2013, 08:02:08 PM »
Thanks for the correction DJ!  I have loaned out my Beaumont Son house book.  I was awfully excited to actually get to loan something to someone and chat some blues with someone who didn't live several time zones away.

Offline Rivers

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Re: 1927 highwater camps and mistreatment
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2013, 08:11:42 PM »
Then you will be even more excited to get it back! I'm still missing my Wardlow/Calt Patton book, which I loaned to a passing acquaintance and never saw it, or him, again. Stay in touch, is the moral of that story.

Offline wreid75

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Re: 1927 highwater camps and mistreatment
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2013, 10:02:45 AM »
and that damn book is expensive.  good thing there are a couple of patton books on the horizon

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