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The Black Prairie of eastern Mississippi has produced a number of notable Blues musicians, including Howlin' Wolf, Bukka White, and Big Joe Williams. Activity in Columbus, the largest city in the region, centered around areas such as this block of 4th Street, called "Catfish Alley" after local fishermen brought their catches to town to be cooked and sold on the street. Bukka White sang of the good times to be had in town in his 1969 recording "Columbus, Mississippi Blues."
The Blue Front Café is known in the Blues world over for a special style of Blues music and a special type of food. The blue cinder-block building has been open since 1948 and was the locale for Bentonia Blues, buffalo fish and moonshine whiskey.
Radio disc jockeys played a major role in the spread of the Blues, boosting the careers of local artists, introducing listeners to performers from across the country, and more generally serving as a voice for the community. Early African-American deejays in Mississippi included Early Wright, Bruce Payne, Charles Evers, Ike Turner, Sherman "Blues" Johnson, Jobie Martin, and Ruben Hughes, who began deejaying in Forest in 1957 at age sixteen and became the owner-operator of Greenwood's WGNL in 1988.
In this cemetery are pioneer Blues giant Charley Patton and fellow Bluesmen Willie James Foster and Asie Payton.
Gravesite of Charley Patton, the founder of Delta Blues.
Church Street catered to every need of the African-American community during the segregation era, when most area residents worked in the cotton fields during the week and came to town on weekends. Church Street (later designated Church Avenue) offered everything from doctors' offices to tailoring shops, from shoe shine stands to ice cream parlors, from Saturday night Blues to Sunday morning church services. B. B. King often played for tips on the street as a teenager in the 1940s.
Club Ebony is one of the best known juke joints in the state. Since 1945, the club has hosted such icons as Count Basie, Ray Charles, James Brown, Ike Turner, Little Milton, Willie Clayton, Albert King, Bobby Bland, Howlin' Wolf, and B. B. King.
The intersection of old Highways 10 and 61 was a popular gathering place for Blues musicians to earn tips.
Benoit native Eddie Taylor was an architect of the post-World War II Chicago blues genre. Eddie Taylor is revered as one of the most influential guitarists in Chicago Blues history. As a child he was influenced by Delta Bluesmen Charley Patton, Son House, and many more.
During the 1940s, '50s, and '60s, the Elks Harts Lodge No. 640 at this site was one of the most important venues for Rhythm and Blues in the Delta. Particularly during the segregation era, fraternal organizations such as the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks of the World (the "black Elks") were central to African-American political, cultural, and social life, and played an important role in the Civil Rights movement.
THE OFFICIAL TOURISM RESOURCE FOR THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI