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Old Man Mississippi

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Anton Schulzki

on 2 November 2015

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Transcript of Old Man Mississippi

Old Man Mississippi
"Never Again!"
"How can a poor man stand such times and live"
State of the Union 1927
“The Government is not the insurer of its citizens against the hazards of the elements. We shall always have flood and drought, heat and cold, earthquake and wind, lightning and tidal wave, which are all too constant in their afflictions. The Government does not undertake to reimburse citizens for loss and damage incurred under such circumstances. It is chargeable, however, with the rebuilding of public works and the humanitarian duty of relieving its citizens of distress.” (Calvin Coolidge, 1927 Annual Message to Congress)
Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America -
“The Government is giving such aid as lies within its powers .... But the burden of caring for the homeless rests upon the agency designated by Government charter to provide relief in disaster — the American National Red Cross.” - President Calvin Coolidge
Coolidge and Government Response

"It has been necessary," wrote the
Jackson Clarion-Ledger
, "to school President Coolidge day by day a bit more towards the realization of the immensity of the catastrophe." Urging the president to use the surplus for relief, the
Paducah News-Democrat
concluded that Coolidge had either "the coldest heart in America or the dullest imagination, and we are about ready to believe he has both." Still, others supported the president. "Fortunately, there are still some things that can be done," the
New York Times
declared, "without the wisdom of Congress and the all-fathering federal government."
Ol' Man River - 'he just keeps rollin' along..'
Mississippi Flood 1927
When does something become 'historic"
Memory is life. It is always carried by groups of living people, and therefore it is in permanent evolution. It is subject to the dialectics of remembering and forgetting, unaware of its successive deformations, open to all kinds of use and manipulation. Sometimes it remains latent for long periods, then suddenly revives. History is the always incomplete and problematic reconstruction of what is no longer there. Memory always belongs to our time and forms a lived bond with the eternal present; history is a representation of the past. -
Pierre Nora, 1984

Merely to recount the course of events, even on a world-wide scale, is unlikely to result in a better understanding of the forces at play in the world today unless we are aware at the same time of the underlying structural changes. What we require first of all is a new framework and new terms of reference. -
Geoffrey Barraclough, 1964
Herbert Hoover and Lessons Learned
Flood Control Act of 1928
Army Corps of Engineers
Republican Convention 1928 & Election of 1928
Great Depression and Hoover's action/reaction
Election of 1932 - Franklin D. Roosevelt
Tennessee Valley Authority

Historic Time
For all of us there is a twilight zone between history and memory; between the past as a generalized record which is open to relatively dispassionate inspection and the past as a remembered part of, or background to, one's own life.
For individual human beings this zone stretches from the point where living family traditions or memories begin - say, from the earliest family photo which the oldest living family member can identify or explicate - to the end of infancy, when public and private destinies are recognized as inseparable and as mutually defining one another ('I met him shortly before the end of the war'; 'Kennedy must have died in 1963, because it was when I was still in Boston'). The length of this zone may vary, and so will the obscurity and fuzziness that characterizes it.
But there is always such a no-man's land of time. It is by far the hardest part of history for historians, or for anyone else, to grasp. -
Eric Hobsbawm
- The Age of Empire 1989
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