Did Racism Drown Out This Community's Voice?

A flooded neighborhood in Linda, California
Leslie Taylor-Grover
July 15, 2020

Pinhook, Missouri was flooding - and the residents there had only a couple of hours to escape. Though minor floods were common, and a few families moved every time it flooded, this night in 2011 was much more sinister.

Something much worse than losing their homes was happening with the small community. Not only was the Mississippi River emptying into their community, but it was being done on PURPOSE.

Though Pinhook’s mayor had been calling state, county, and local agencies - including the Army Corp of Engineers - about the rising waters, not a soul had mentioned that Pinhook was going to be purposely destroyed. None of Pinhook’s families had been admonished to leave or included in evacuation preparations. Why? Blatant racism.

Pinhook had been founded by Black people in 1927 and had quickly grown into a thriving little village. The flooding was a deliberate malicious slap in the face meant to displace Black families. So what happened that night?

The families escaped, but the historically-Black community was destroyed. Today, after a successful battle to be relocated and have their homes rebuilt, Pinhook families gather to commemorate their community and to keep its history alive. Know this: When we build together, we create everlasting legacies.

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