Date & Time
Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Location Virtual Program
Ticketing Free with advance registration

Join the African American Program for a free virtual screening of “The Great Flood.”

Presented as part of the From Slavery to Freedom Film Series, “The Great Flood” examines the Mississippi River Flood of 1927, the most destructive river flood in American history, and the forced migration it left in its wake.

In the spring of 1927, the Mississippi River broke out of its earthen embankments in 145 places and inundated 27,000 square miles of land. Part of its legacy was the forced exodus of displaced sharecroppers, who left plantation life and migrated to Northern cities, adapting to an industrial society with its own set of challenges.

“The Great Flood” is a collaboration between filmmaker and multimedia artist Bill Morrison and guitarist and composer Bill Frisell.

Following the screening, Morrison, the film’s director, and Dr. Richard McKinley Mizelle, Jr., associate professor of history at the University of Houston and author of “Backwater Blues: The Mississippi Flood of 1927 in the African American Imagination,” will discuss the film.

The From Slavery to Freedom Film Series is presented by the History Center’s African American Program and is supported by Highmark and Allegheny Health Network.


The virtual screening is free with advance registration.

About the Speakers

Bill Morrison has premiered films at the New York, Rotterdam, Sundance, and Venice film festivals, and mulitmedia work at major performance venues around the globe such as BAM, the Barbican, Carnegie, and Walt Disney Concert Hall. His films typically source rare archival footage in which long forgotten, and sometimes deteriorated, imagery is reframed as part of a collective mythology. DECASIA (2002) was the first film of the 21st century to be selected to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME (2017) was named to multiple critics’ lists of the best films of the decade (2010s). His work has been recognized with the Alpert Award, Creative Capital, the Foundation for Contemporary Art, a Guggenheim fellowship, and a mid-career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.

Richard McKinley Mizelle, Jr. is Associate Professor of History at the University of Houston. His research, writing, and lecturing focuses on the history of race and healthcare politics, chronic disease, environmental health, and the historical connections between gender, identity, and ethnicity in medicine.

Mizelle is the author of Backwater Blues: The Mississippi Flood of 1927 in the African American Imagination (University of Minnesota Press, 2014) and co-editor of Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the U.S. Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita (Brookings Institution Press, 2011). His work has appeared in a wide range of academic journals and publications, including The Lancet, ISIS, Journal of African American History, History Compass, The New England Journal of Medicine, Open Rivers Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books, and the American Historian Magazine. His research has also been quoted in the Washington Post, New York Times, New Yorker Magazine, and he has appeared and consulted on numerous local and national podcasts including NPR Throughline and the Atlantic’s Floodlines.