The Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927
The Great Flood of 1927 had a major effect on African American culture and music. Specifically the Mississippi Delta blues. The blues is a genre of music created by African American communities of the deep south at the end of the 19th century. The blues consist of themes such as; relationships, emotions, work, sex, problems, travel, and life. There are more, but these are the most common themes of blues music. The Mississippi River flood of 1927 actually started in the summer of 1926 with heavy rain on the central basin that eventually overtook the levee systems which were ineffective against the flood. According to Wikipedia, the floods were so bad that they flooded over 27,000 square miles which was double the volume of the amount of water in Niagara Falls. In April of 1927, there was 15 inches of rain that came down on the city of New Orleans, with floods up to 4 feet high covering some parts of the city. Wikipedia also states that the flood caused over $400 million in damages and killed 246 people in seven states. Clearly, the flood was destructive and did extensive damage to the cities near the Mississippi River. According to the Encyclopedia of Louisiana, almost 1 million people were displaced from their homes. According to msbluestrail.org, after the flood, record companies were looking for blues artists who were making songs about the flood. These companies were looking for specific themes about the destruction of the flood, deaths, injustice that was brought on from the flood. Mainly because it was a hot topic and knew that music would be popular amongst the black communities who were effected by the disaster. There were many songs made by blues artists about the flood, three of them were called Lonnie Johnson's “Broken Levee Blues,” Charlie Patton's “High Water Everywhere,” and Barbecue Bob's “Mississippi Heavy Water Blues.” In “Broken Levee Blues,” Lonnie Johnson references how he was...
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