The Princeville Problem Now

In response to the President Clinton’s Executive Order, the Civil Works Review Board of the US Army Corps of Engineers conducted a feasibility study from 2002 to 2006. The study resulted in a Recommended Plan which consisted of extension of the on-site levee, installation of culvert flap-gates, intersection of and road improvements, and shoulder levee construction. A central feature of the plan was to address the most dangerous source of flooding: the bypassing of the existing levee at its norther terminus.

Despite these measures, Princeville suffered catastrophic flooding and damage in October 2016 after Hurricane Matthew.  FEMA elected not to provide the required disaster relief, and sent most of the residents away to other locales. The history of this unique and important American town is in danger of being lost.

It is unclear how much of the 2006 Recommended Plan was actually implemented and how much of the funding authorized by the Clinton Executive Order was actually expended. It is also unclear how much money was authorized by FEMA in response to Hurricane Matthew and how these funds were allocated and spent. Preserving the Vision is intent of answering these questions.

Preserving the Vision is currently conducting an inquiry into the authorization, allocation and the flow of federal funds in response to the Princeville flooding in 2016 and previous floods. It will include a close look at how much of the 2006 Recommended Plan was implemented by the Corps of Engineers and how much money was expended. This research project is viewed as a first step in formulating a comprehensive repair and restoration plan for the town of Princeville.

The legacy of the African Americans who established Princeville includes individuals such as Harriet Jacobs, a feminist and abolitionist who taught in the early Freedom schools established after the Proclamation freeing the slaves in 1863. Her home and writings are an important part of the history in the years leading up to and following the abolition of slavery in the United States. Historic and culturally significant properties and legacies are in danger of being lost if Princeville is not restored.