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Document Deep South Pole fields of cotton forests and factories in the heart of Dixie. A revealing story of progress documented with on the spot recordings and produced by the radio broadcasting service extension division of the University of Alabama. For the next 30 minutes you will make a transcribed trip through the side. You will see the significance of a new industrial solve a changing South. You will see how determined people are nature's plenty into prosperity. That more than ever is making itself felt in our nation's economy. A in A. List a sippy manuscript.
A witness. In a. In a. Here on the Mississippi River on the deck of an old times derned we look. At the proud negro deckhand also has a weighted line into the water and you listen to his car. It's an important song. The words and the way he sings them tell the riverboat captain whether or not he's in safe water. This Genting the depth soundings is quite an art. Joe Gold one heard here is one of the
few remaining deckhands who can do it. And then at the critical stage nine feet or less recall becoming. A. Word again. Anybody can become deeper 12 feet. In our IT way. The Mississippi River romance of the ages the far reaching
effect of fortune and the history the heartache the beauty and the Beast. That the majesty of the old Mississippi. And its more to. Its raft of logs floating down stream and river boats and runaway boy. It's the naturalists and the robber did leave regular run between New Orleans and laid low as. It's muddy banks. Rosa turned their serious side to the side. It's Mark Twain in the Vale of copy. The body gambler and the packet steamer. It's a sweating deck hand. The deep throated whistle. Day's Mississippi is the manuscript of many tales.
It's wide waters of Cary lusty legends of perseverance of savage in durance settlement. Well between its banks flow history and progress. And its winding course cuts a path through rich farmlands through forest and alongside factory sites beyond the levee you can see a new South in the making. A rich reliable more independent Southland. I land of cotton that yields commerce and industry as well. And so in your travels do not overlook the blue marked lines on the map. The wall way to see what they wear or the way through they're the
ones who are there with Dr. Walter B Jones the man with a map. You have traveled through 11 states of the south using the James River Virginia from historic Hampton Roads to the mountain battlements of the Blue Ridge and you cross the apple matics the Roanoke the tar and the Cape Fear. In South Carolina you saw the PD and then the Savannah River that separates that state from Georgia. You were way down the palms Awani a river overflowing with Mistah and the fame of Stephen Foster. And there are rivers named after States they Kentucky the Tennessee the Alabama on the Arkansas not to mention the Mississippi and Indian names like the Kissimmee the Choctaw Hachi and the tongue big battle of the stream. Much of that came from a rigid flag right along there one
way and they re following in the footsteps of their Indian predecessors. Hardy pioneers settled along rivers and streams for the very same advantages. With one more added because of Indian hostility the white man tried to stay clear of the wilderness chose to travel the swift silent safer way was we took it and he was met by law and the law punitive and the solo was limited. But still there was a waiver Fayad by oil slick. Only. To find out more about early interest in the waterways of the deep south particularly the fabulous fall of the waters of the Mississippi. You go to Memphis Tennessee. There you meet Colonel A.F. Clark Jr. He's head of the
US Corps of Army Engineers. Colonel Clark knows the river by heart its history its habits. Well as I said the first record of cargo was in seventeen hundred five and 15000 bear and deer hides were shipped down the river or paddled by clue from the island down the Mississippi over to Biloxi for shipment to France in the year. It 201 or 18 to about it there. There were as many as 4000 books which passed down the river on the way to a lot of those black books generally came from up in the Ohio and carried Prados of various kinds and lumber downed. Whatever by 1834 there were packet boats on the river as many as 230 of them in that year and it increased very markedly until by 1849 of about a thousand packet boats operating on the Mississippi. All right then nothing I can do when we have those on the
side. We live but we are well looked around with so much room and said No bell some of those cab passengers or yes are they generally carry passengers and then they stop at every landing from me where the plantations all the plantations along the river had landings and they picked up their cart and deliver their goods for them and the river was still the major means of transportation of course no revenue. Well not in those other days they had to not only buy the Indian and the growth of the rich but. Will send by snipers all in there. And rather what about the navigation on a river such as this one. Such a glow of a city is a rather dangerous occupation at least in its early stages yet in the first there were many trees and saw a dog on the banks which washed into the river and floating
down stuck in the bottom and those of a steam boat hit them would they tear the bottom right out of a steamboat. The sacks were a major concern plus the fact that there were no aids to navigation a pilot Well there must have been some demand and that was rendered if that situation was by 1824 Congress authorized to work on the Mississippi and picked on the Corps of Engineers to undertake it. A Captain Shreve was sent out and his major problem was to pull snakes out of the river. Henry Shreve was quite a character you learn yet few people realize the prominent part he played in the development of our nation. I note the way you worded that. You said NATION. On the development of the Mississippi was to develop virtually the nation. Henry Miller this review said to cut his teeth on the snags of the Mississippi which is another way of saying he learned the river the hard way. At an early age he graduated from
flat boats to keel boats perfected the majestic steam boat of the gay plantation era. And piloted the river with a rare knowledge. It was the envy of the whole Mississippi. It was meant to limit the water department should name Captain Shreve to the task of removing obstructions from the Mississippi and the Ohio. This was the first major improvement of the Mississippi River channel for navigation. But Captain Sri did more than that. He constructed the first artificial cut off in 1831. He devised a shallow draft boats with high pressure engines mounted on deck. But perhaps the most important thing he did was to open up the Mississippi River to competitive enterprise. Last week you walked the sidewalks of a prosperous community. Thus it is situated on the Red River you were told that it was the second largest city in Louisiana.
Its name was reborn. A tremendous monument to a man who made river navigation an art. And also made it possible. Well generally speaking the early settlers in the valley picked on the highest ground of course. They found that the ground there as the river tended to be the highest ground but even softer in times of extreme flood they were apt to get pretty wet. So that on an individual basis in the early days they started building small local levies later on as the country was settled and more and more people moved in and the various local units combined and formed levee districts and built their own levees those levees generally speaking follow the bank of the river but might wander around almost anywhere that global system of levees continued clear up until after the first war. But of course that was not too satisfactory though. Did that lack
some of the can said it have put much of that work was wasted wasn't it. Why yes. It was unquestionably a great deal of it was wasted there was little coordination between the various districts and no district could really afford to build a levee to a height sufficient to protect it against a really major flood. And the Office of Colonel Clark commanding officer of the Memphis division of the US Corps of Army Engineers. You and Dr. Jones your travelling companion are learning of the early days of the Mississippi. You listen as Colonel Clark continues. Well in 1879 the Congress decided that they needed a an agency to undertake the coordination of all the work in the valley. And they appointed or created the Mississippi River Commission which is a seven man commission appointed by the president. Three of the members including its president are from the Corps of Engineers one from the US Coast
and Geodetic Survey and three are from civil life leaders in the valley. That commission has ever since that time coordinated their work which may be done on or near the Mississippi River and its tributaries all the way down to make sure that all their wrists are off. As best as possible exactly Dr Jones once or twice a year the Mississippi River Commission makes a trek through down the length of the Mississippi holding hearings at each city for local people to bring up their problems as regards navigation or flood control or anyone subject related to the Mississippi inexactly hearings that are to be ever present but sometimes home on river makes it very unpleasant for those living in the Mississippi River Valley. Such an occasion occurred in one thousand twenty seven. Colonel Clark tells you about it in one hundred twenty seven. The river put on its greatest flood. Up to that time they local
levees were inadequate to hold it and the practically the whole valley was butted from top to bottom. There were great capacity here and there the towns were flooded farms were lost a lot of livestock and many lives were lost. That year the Congress decided that the flood problem in the lower Mississippi. Was beyond this go beyond the possibility of the local residents dealing with it and decided to game a national park it became a national problem they were dealing with the water that comes from about 50 percent of the area of the United States being funneled out on them. Therefore the Congress adopted what Control Act in 1928 which authorized the federal government to undertake with local cooperation the raising of levees and the preparation of a flood control plan for the lower Mississippi. That plan is known as the Jadwin plan and we are still working on it from Cairo Illinois where the mammoth Ohio skirts the northern border of Kentucky and Johns the
Mississippi Missouri and such deep south states is Tennessee Arkansas Mississippi and Louisiana. Must bear the brunt of seasonal torrents that sweep in from numerous tributaries. Therefore you see another phase in the development of a new and prosperous South Land. The element of protection. Since floods result from water surging southward from 40 to 50 percent of the nation the U.S. government and especially the corps of Army Engineers is shouldering the major burden. But it's the primary concern to farmers and physicians housewives and haberdashery salesmen from Paducah to Lake Pontchartrain to them it means lives and property. Army engineers however have brought to the Mississippi valley of vast store of scientific developments that have greatly reduced the danger. The disaster of the past one ingenious effort toward predicting the unpredictable Mississippi is today in operation at Vicksburg.
In the 1930s the originators established a waterways experiment station at Vicksburg Mississippi with a mission to examine into the factors affecting the flow the river. The idea was to find out. Why the river acted the way it did so that we could predict what it would do in the future. How is it done. Well you visit Vicksburg city a battle. You enter this one time Spanish port. You look upon Antebellum splendor that once rose up against River gamblers. You see where General Grand cjra one of the most exciting chapters of the Civil War. And then you look down upon a modern day battleground where an endless struggle to win floods to save lives is being fought. Hour after hour it's in the form of a full scale model of the Mississippi River covering an area of about a mile square simulating conditions are set up often times according to weather forecasts. And
thus a preliminary view of a reaction is observed. To admit water at the right time at the right places to record the results would take an estimated fifteen hundred technicians you're told. But this problem is bridge by an ingenious system of controls called program was a device somewhat like the old time piano rolls which operate and record the work of the waterways Experiment Station electrically. How effective is this experiment. Well it's not a magic wand that will tame this rampaging river but it does afford a fairly accurate method of second guessing a forecast flood telling exactly what place or places along the thousands of trunk of the Mississippi River that will receive the severest strain. Thus Vicksburg becomes field headquarters for a flood fight is up and down the Mississippi Valley. One.
Saw waterways at the South exemplified by the great Mississippi have a plus and a minus factor. But despite its dump to Jekyll Mr. hydro rivers and streams of Dixie both to romantic background recalling the days of rich planters and liberty back. Of moonlight last played new Cypress. Other musical note the rustle of cars and taffeta. Slave harmony and the sliding gangway. The roar of steam in the ride has welcomed the flamboyant band aboard the show boat the shimmering water and a hearty shout steamboat from. The beginning. On atom will alone a while. Well as I said before Buddy thousand forty nine or roughly a thousand
packet boats on the river in the decade from 1850 to 1860 the fact that boats were at their height they were carrying practically all of the freight and they are the source of much romantic literature these days as that is true. After the War Between the States that ended the railroads more and more took business away from the packet boats and they declined until by the beginning of World War 1 about 1914 along in there the packet boats had practically disappeared from the river. After that war the development of the better told us they had better control river and a need for the movement of large quantities of bulk freight particularly petroleum caused a renaissance in the business on the river and we have seen much greater traffic movement now than ever before. It's hardly more than a memory now. The bulky shallow draft apparition of the
Robert E. Lee of the Tennessee Belle. Emerging out of the morning fog. Feeling its way to the tune of the deckhand depths. The glamour is gone and so is the guesswork. Radar and more reliable instruments aid modern diesel engine tugs up and down the meandering stream. Well in 1951 which is the last year for which we have complete figures the total tonnage on the river on the Mississippi that is from Minneapolis to the Gulf of Mexico right over 73 million tons. But even river traffic today must reckon with the changing moods of the Mississippi. As Mark Twain once put it in order to be a part of it a man has got to learn more than any one man ought to be allowed to know. And then he must learn it all over again in a different way every 24 hours. Today the river
captains have the U.S. Corps of Army engineers to help and special bulletins are published daily in determining the channel its depth and change insofar as navigation is concerned. We have another means of operation that is we maintain dredging where the river has and moving down its bed that occasionally gets a gray shell in what we call a crossing between two beds and during the summer when the river is little we put a great general and veges narrow channels across these crossings so that the tow boats can move up and up. As it was the ration of the quantity of freight moving at one time of the summer we lost what we say lost the channel for 12 hours. That is a crossing showed up sadly we did not have a dredge sitting right handy. It was 12 hours before we could get to it. In those 12 hours we had 14 major tolls it is Tobit with by just waiting to pass either up or down past that
point. Yes our rivers and water ways are being used. And this day offer an effective economical means for shipping bulk cargo. You can see what this means for the South for the products produced for the finished goods received. But you can see to the threat the constant fear of floods. So Colonel Clark and his army engineers do much more than keeping the Mississippi open. They must keep it contained too. Well the overall plan for control of the flood. I'm tall on the lower Mississippi and all regulation works in the other rivers beyond our own that is big dams on the Ohio and Tennessee in the Cumberland and so on dams up the Missouri all of which affect our flood heights here and we also have plans and have constructed some of the dams on local streams on the White River. The St. Francis river and the Red River runs on on the main river itself. Our foot control
works consist mainly of the levees or the floodwalls in a constricted area where you can't build the broad earth levee we sometimes build a concrete wall in order to protect those levees from the meandering of the river that is the river's tendency to cut its banks and change its bed. We Rivette place a concrete mattress on the banks of the river in those spots where it is cutting in order to confine it that is about the only means that we have. That really controls the Mississippi. It is not an easy river to control. It's a saying here among my engineers that you can't force the river to do something but if the river wants to do something you can occasionally help it slightly. While a chapter washerwomen must be had to master them all. In Mississippi.
You learn not to leave out such you thought and think says the inland waterway. Then a coast to come now the search the East Coast from Boston to Norfolk. And thence to Miami. Add to this the continuation along the Gulf Coast to Galveston Texas. Include the countless streams and rivers and lakes that form a big attraction for pleasure or big business. Or commerce. Scene Esso refinery Baton Rouge Louisiana. His office building on the right. Yes if we go over the block down to the reverie here is the office of their conservation department. It's their job to cut down on oil losses and to see it that way of all. Any pollution up the river or any other bodies of water around here do a good job and I are at it night and day to see to it that the losses are kept low.
Here all is kept out of the navigable waters and all that pollution is kept down to an absolute mess. Seen some of these corp Rome Georgia. Our particular industry hair is interesting from the point of you know that it requires a tremendous amount of water to operate in. This particular plant hair actually has its own water purification and treatment plant which has a bigger capacity than that of the neighboring city of Rome. So you understand when Dr. Jones says if you carry heavy industry with the amount of water. That he envisions will require that all over the rivers to it. Whoa is the main function here and we love with all of this gold Are you ready.
Oh Evelyn and then you're going to limit this as well. This has been Program 16 of the document deep self a series of actuality documentaries depicting the increasing importance of the self and the economic development of our nation. This week Mississippi manuscript. A chapter and a changing self written in waterways of Dixie. Your narrator was Walt Whitaker document Deep South is written and produced by Leroy Bannerman with Dr. Walter B Jones as a senior consultant. Documenting the self is presented by the radio broadcasting services extension
division. University of Alabama. And is made possible by a grant in aid from the farm for adult education an independent agency established by the Ford Foundation. Now this is Keith Barr reminding you that this has been a radio presentation of the University of Alabama. This is the ne e b network.
Document: Deep South
Mississippi manuscript
Producing Organization
University of Alabama
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
The importance of waterways, including the Mississippi River. Colonel A.F. Clark, Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Memphis, analyzes the river's Jekyll-and-Hyde behavior.
Series Description
A series of documentaries depicting the increasing importance of the South in the economic development of the United States. Narrated by Walt Whitaker, written and produced by Leroy Bannerman, with Dr. Walter B. Jones as senior consultant.
Broadcast Date
Radio programs--United States.
Media type
Embed Code
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Advisor: Jones, Walter B. (Walter Bryan), 1895-1977
Funder: Fund for Adult Education (U.S.)
Narrator: Whitaker, Walter
Producer: Bannerman, Leroy
Producing Organization: University of Alabama
Speaker: Clark, A.F., Jr.
Writer: Bannerman, Leroy
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-15-16 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:17
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Chicago: “Document: Deep South; Mississippi manuscript,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 28, 2024,
MLA: “Document: Deep South; Mississippi manuscript.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 28, 2024. <>.
APA: Document: Deep South; Mississippi manuscript. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from