Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Devil, The Blues and Civil Rights

On November 15, 2001, the Greenwood Blues Heritage Museum & Gallery opened its doors in Greenwood, Mississippi. The project got its start by the recently relocated California couple Steve and Regina LaVere. Steve happened to have served as the agent for The Robert Johnson Estate, whom became the primary focus of the collection. Johnson is a well-known Blues legend who is rumored to have sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads in exchange for his musical abilities and died at an early age in the city of Greenwood - further cementing the rumor that he had somehow made some unholy pact.

The museum would move to its present location later and now shares the same building as a café and bakery. It has also expanded to now offer the Greenwood Heritage Tours, which cover many aspects of the city's history including the Civil War, Civil Rights, Native American, Literary, Cotton Plantations, and, of course, the Delta Blues. The Blues tour hits such Johnson sites as his three tombstones (there was plenty of confusion as to where he was actually buried), as well as stops remembered for B.B. King, Mississippi John Hurt, and Peetie Wheatstraw (another "devilish" personality). In addition, guests will see the very store in nearby Money that fourteen-year-old Emmett Till allegedly whistled at a white woman, which lead to his brutal beating and murder that shocked the nation and helped to start the American Civil Rights Movement.

Explore the history of music and events of the Mississippi Delta.

-Casey H.

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