In April of 1927, the Mississippi River began to flood states from Illinois to Louisiana. After months of unprecedented rain, the flood waters poured from the river’s banks at a rate of twenty eight Olympic swimming pools each second. Hundreds of people died. Hundreds of thousands were displaced. America was reshaped, both demographically and politically.
The Mississippi River is central to the American economy and imagination. And for centuries, it has served as a battlefield for America’s most complicated social and economic struggles. On this episode of BackStory, we’re going to look at the role the river has played in the American story – how access to its waters both united and divided a country, and how efforts to tame it have consistently come up just a little bit short.
Help Us Out: We want to hear about the role the Mississippi has played in your own history. Was reading Huck Finn a pivotal moment in your young life? Did you or your family grow up in a delta town? Or perhaps you’ve experienced the flood waters yourself. Let us know, below.