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  • 7 years ago
Show 51 - Levee Camp Blues

Show 51 - Levee Camp Blues

Your browser does not support the audio tag. Levee construction began in the 19th century in the U.S. on the Mississippi River and rivers like the Red and the Brazos. Work has pretty much continued on them since. In the 1920s and especially the 30s, government contractors brought laborers into camps to build the levees higher and higher. These camps were wild places where the only law was the boss. Murder and other crimes were common. It was yet another situation where black laborers were brutally exploited. Still, there was no shortage of men looing for jobs on the levees. Pay was better than sharecropping. At least when a worker got paid. They often didn’t.Texas singer Gene Campbell told the story when he recorded Levee Camp Man in 1930:These contractors, they are getting so slackThese contractors, they are getting so slackThey’ll pay you half of your money and hold the other half backThere ain’t but two men that get paid offThere ain’t but two men that get paid offThat’

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