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African-American Heritage

T.J. Huddleston, Sr.

T.J. Huddleston, Sr. Yazoo City, Mississippi – June 1, 2016 – Today we remember the life and legacy of one great Yazooan, Thomas Jefferson Huddleston, Sr., born June 1, 1876. A great orator and salesman with a gift for captivating his audience, he started a chain of funeral homes in Mississippi. In 1924, T.J. Huddleston, Sr., founded the Afro-American Sons and Daughters, a fraternal organization in Mississippi and one of the leading black voluntary associations in the state. Organized in 1924, it had 35,000 members by the 1930s. In 1928, the association opened the Afro-American Hospital of Yazoo City, the first hospital for blacks in the state. Dr. Lloyd Tevis Miller (L.T. Miller), co-founder of the Mississippi Medical and Surgical Association (MMSA), the state’s largest and oldest organization representing African American health professionals, was recruited by Huddleston to serve as the facility’s first director.  The hospital offered both major and minor

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Henry Herschel Brickell Memorial Yazoo Literary Walkway

Henry Herschel Brickell, 1889 – 1952, was born in Senatobia, Mississippi on September 13, 1889.  He grew up in Yazoo City attending the local schools, and no doubt visiting the historic Ricks Memorial Library.  He went on to attend the University of Mississippi, where he began his career as an editor, writer and literary critic.  He served as editor and critic in cities across the US – Montgomery, Alabama; Pensacola, Florida; Jackson, Mississippi; New York City, New York.  Writers such as Arthur Palmer Hudson, Stark Young and Eudora Welty were encouraged by Brickell at different times during his career. In 2010 the Yazoo Historical Society, the Brickell Family Foundation, and the Ricks Memorial Library joined efforts to create the Henry Herschel Brickell Memorial Yazoo Literary Walkway.  Joining the old Main Street School (now the Triangle Cultural Center) once attended by Brickell to the Ricks Memorial Library, this walkway now honors

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Yazoo Blues Trail Map

Use this map to easily locate the Mississippi Blues Trail markers in Yazoo County, OR download the iPhone app from iTunes! View Yazoo County Blues Trail in a larger map

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Oakes African-American Cultural Center

The Oakes House was home to the Oakes family for almost 125 years. Today it houses the Oakes African-American Cultural Center, where visitors can take a glimpse into the lives and heritage of an outstanding African-American family.   The Oakes Family Home Its History and Legacy The Oakes family moved from South Carolina to Yazoo City in 1853 after John Oakes bought the freedom of his wife Mary and her two children. In 1866 the family purchased a lot with a one-room structure that would remain the home of members of the Oakes family until 1989. By 1930, the one-room structure had grown to the regal two-story home that stands today. gambling loan sharks The careful restoration of the Oakes House, which occurred during the 1990s, preserved the uniqueness of the construction and it is now listed on the Mississippi and the National Register of Historic Places. The house has

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Yazoo County African-American Heritage Tour

Yazoo County African-American Heritage Tour Tour length: Approx. 5 hrs. Arrive at Yazoo County Convention & Visitors Bureau Office and Visitor Center Travel to Oakes African American Cultural Center (UPDATE: The Oakes House is currently closed for renovations. We will update you as soon as the Center has re-opened, hopefully by mid/late 2015. Stay tuned.) Tour Oakes African American Cultural Center (A showcase of the African American Culture in Yazoo County) Stop in front of Ubon’s Restaurant, Visit Gatemouth Moore’s Blues Trail Marker Stop in front of St. Francis, Visit St. Francis Mission School Marker Stop in front of Yazoo City Amtrak Platform, Visit Tommy McClennan’s Blues Trail Marker Leave for Bentonia, Mississippi Lunch at Hall of Fame Restaurant (or other group choice) Arrive at the Blue Front Cafe Hear the History of Bentonia Style Blues told by Jimmy Duck Holmes Bentonia Style Music performed by Jimmy Duck Holmes, Stop

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Tommy McClennan

Tommy McClennan Physical, intense Mississippi blues. Underrated guitar player.  Born on a farm in April, 1908, and grew up in nearby Yazoo City, Mississippi. Played across the South Delta in towns like Greenwood, Indianola and Itta Bena during the 1920s and through the 1930s, sometimes with his only local rival, and stylistic “sound-a-like”, Robert Petway. Reportedly, McClennan was a very nervous and slightly built man, but he must have really rocked in those Mississippi juke joints. There’s been a lot of negative writing about McClennan in the past, but Big Tony is telling you: this is one of the great Delta artists. He’s a powerful and convincing vocalist, and his playing has both impact and nuance; this is one of the Big Guys. Lester Melrose arranged his first recording session, for Bluebird in November, 1939; and around 1940 Tommy moved to Chicago. His first recordings sold rather well, and he

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“Gatemouth” Moore

“Gatemouth” Moore Arnold Dwight “Gatemouth” Moore, a lesser-known blues icon is recognized for some of his blues compositions – “Did You Ever Love A Woman”, “I Ain’t Mad at You, Pretty Baby”, “Somebody’s Got To Go”. Blues greats such as B.B. King, Rufus Thomas, and Jimmy Witherspoon also recorded some of his tunes. In 1930 Moore moved from Memphis to Kansas City, where he worked with several jazz bands during1930s and 40s. manicsquirrel.com/etherion/st/ cash in check Most of Moore’s later recordings were in the gospel vein, however, in 1977 Moore made his final album, Great R&B Oldies, revisiting the blues. Moore retired to Yazoo City many years before his death in 2004. He was honored\ by a resolution from the Mississippi state legislature, commending him for his illustrious career in blues and gospel.

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Skip James

Nehemiah “Skip” James James grew up in Bentonia and is said to have learned the Bentonia Blues style from Henry Stuckey.  Highly emotive, often strange, James was one of a half-dozen virtuosos of Delta blues. He stood out from other artists not only because of his skill, but because of his courage in pursuing his creative vision when it went contrary to popular taste. With dark themes and sophisticated finger-picking, James helped redefine what could be done with three-chord music. Added to that was his superior vocal phrasing and wild piano playing. Whether because of religious background or personal hardships, his music usually reflected a dire outlook on life. One writer said it always seemed like night when Skippy sang the blues. The son of a minister, James for a while tried to find his life purpose preaching and singing in a choir, but he eventually returned to secular music.

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Jack Owens

Jack Owens Jack Owens was born L. F. Nelson, and lived and worked in Bentonia. Owens was never a professional recording artist, but he farmed, bootlegged and ran a weekend juke joint in Bentonia for most of his life. He was not recorded until the blues revival of the 1960s. Owens was rediscovered by David Evans in 1966, who was led to him by either Skip James or Cornelius Bright. Evans recorded Owen’s first album Goin’ Up the Country that same year and It Must Have Been the Devil (with Bud Spires) in 1970. He made other recordings (some by Alan Lomax) in the 1960s and 1970s, and performed at several music festivals in the United States and Europe until his death in 1997.  Owens shared many elements of his guitar style and repertoire with fellow Bentonian Skip James. He was often accompanied on harmonica by his friend Bud Spires.

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Blue Front Cafe

Blue Front Cafe 107 East Railroad Avenue Bentonia, Mississippi 662-763-5306 An authentic Mississippi Delta “juke joint” where the world-famous original Bentonia Blues was born and can still be heard. The Blue Front Cafe is considered the oldest active juke joint in Mississippi. The Blue Front Café opened in 1948 under the ownership of Carey and Mary Holmes, an African American couple from Bentonia. In its heyday the Blue Front was famed for its buffalo fish, blues, and moonshine whiskey. One of the couple’s sons, Jimmy Holmes took over the Café in 1970. During the 1980s the Blue Front Café began to attract tourists in search of authentic blues in a rustic setting. In its early years, the Café was a local gathering spot for crowds of workers from the Yazoo County cotton fields. Carey and Mary Holmes raised their ten children and three nephews and sent most of them to

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Yazoo County CVB

Yazoo County Convention & Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 186
110 N Jerry Clower Blvd, Suite S
Yazoo City, Mississippi 39194
Toll Free: (800) 381-0662
Phone: (662) 746-1815
Fax: (662) 746-1816

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