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HIS 351 - Water Justice Resource Guide: Flooding
This guide provides students in Dr. Newfont's HIS 351 "Water Justice" course (Fall 2020) with additional primary and secondary resources to aid in research, discussion, and class projects.
The vast majority of SCRC resources related to flooding have to do with the 1937 Ohio River and Mississippi River flood that devastated many Kentucky communities. There are also collections related to the Red River Gorge and other dam construction proposals and projects in Kentucky. Because of the course focus on the 1927 Mississippi River flood, the secondary sources listed below mostly focus on that event.
The Kentucky Rivers Coalition records (dated 1889, 1937-1988, undated; 39.61 cubic feet, 50 boxes) primarily comprises operating records, subject files, publications, and photographs that document the work of the Kentucky Rivers Coalition and the environmental protection efforts of federal and state governments in the eastern and mid-western United States.
The Ohio River flood of 1937 devastated communities along the Ohio River from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Cairo, Illinois. It was the deepest Ohio River flood on record in many major cities of the Ohio River Valley. Majorly affected cities include Cincinnati, Ohio; Louisville, Kentucky; Jeffersonville, Indiana; Evansville, Indiana; Paducah, Kentucky; and Harrisburg, Illinois. Throughout the entire Ohio River Valley, the flood left about a million people homeless, claimed at least 385 lives, and caused over $500 million (at the time) in damages.
The collection contains one scrapbook of newspaper clippings highlighting all aspects of the infamously devastating 1937 Ohio River flood. The scrapbook was compiled in 1937 by Mrs. George W. Lee inside the pages of a 1931 Remedial English textbook (which was actually used a textbook by Elizabeth Withers in 1936).
The Kentucky woman diary (dated 1936-1938; 0.05 cubic feet; 1 folder) comprises one diary that documents the life of a young woman living in Kentucky in the mid-1930s. Letters also detail losing her family's house to the major flood in 1937.
This collection reflects more than twenty years of the controversy regarding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers efforts to alleviate flooding by constructing a dam in the Red River Gorge area in east central Kentucky. Congress initially authorized the construction of the dam in 1962, but through the efforts of numerous conservationists, local activists, and environmental organizations, the construction of the dam was eventually halted through a court injunction. The papers include correspondence, news clippings, magazine articles, reports, studies, court documents, memorabilia, photographs, and a cassette tape interview with Gorge residents.
The Mississippi River flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in U.S. history, reshaping the social and cultural landscape as well as the physical environment. Often remembered as an event that altered flood control policy and elevated the stature of powerful politicians, Richard M. Mizelle Jr. examines the place of the flood within African American cultural memory and the profound ways it influenced migration patterns in the United States. InBackwater Blues, Mizelle analyzes the disaster through the lenses of race and charity, blues music, and mobility and labor.
Provides historical account of Federal disaster response to the Mississippi River flood of 1927, including an assessment of the executive branch response thereto, in which President Calvin Coolidge created a quasi-governmental commission, consisting of Cabinet members and the American National Red Cross, to encourage the public to donate funds to the relief effort, and provided Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover near-absolute authority to organize and oversee disaster relief efforts.