Saturday, November 8, 2014

Learning from the Storm

 On March 21st, 1952, a cluster of tornadoes struck the Mississippi valley. The damage stretched across nine states; 231 people died and 1,829 were injured. In White County, Arkansas, a pair of cyclones leveled the town of Judsonia, destroyed 650 buildings, and killed 46 people.[Qu5]

Thirteen days later, as the townsfolk were still picking through the wreckage, twenty-six scientists arrived in Judsonia from Chicago. Instead of first aid kits and blankets, they carried tape recorders and notebooks. They fanned out across White County, picked a representative cross-section of homes, and asked their inhabitants if they could interview them.

To their own surprise, most of the people they asked said yes.