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Hints for the Active Learning Questions


1. (a) It was strained. Will did not seem close to his father and didn't appear to think his father liked him. (b) He told town leaders not to approve the evacuation and thereby prevented Will from ordering their removal. (c) Possibly Will's anger at his father or at his powerlessness caused him to blame the African Americans for his failure to handle the situation more effectively.

2. White landowners charged African Americans for supplies that the Red Cross meant to be distributed free of charge; blacks were forced to work against their will; blacks in refugee camps weren't allowed to come and go freely.


1. Students should note that sharecroppers included whites as well as blacks, that most were extremely poor, and that the homes they lived in and the farm implements they used were generally in poor condition.

2. Between 1910 and 1920, the proportion of black males in skilled and semi-skilled jobs either declined or remained the same in most southern states. (b) It might have encouraged African Americans to move north in search of greater economic opportunity.


1. (a) Students should follow the instructions outlined in the activity. (b) If the levees on one side of the river were to break, that would relieve the pressure on the levees on the other side of the river. In a sense, therefore, it was in a town's interest for the levee on the opposite side of the river to break.

2. Maps should accurately present the affected area.


1. (a) Graphs should accurately portray the data in the table. (b) Chicago's population grew from 2.7 million to 3.4 million during the 1920s, and as the film and the essay on sharecroppers explain, many of these new residents were African Americans who left the Mississippi Delta following the flood. (c) The city had grown significantly in each of the previous few decades. (d) Population growth slowed dramatically in the 1930s, probably due in part to the Great Depression.

2. Essays should explain and defend the student's point of view.

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