Clarksdale is a city in Coahoma County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 20,645 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Coahoma County.
In the early 20th century, Clarksdale was known as the "Golden Buckle in the Cotton Belt" and was home to a multi-cultural mixture of Lebanese, Italian, Chinese and Jewish immigrant merchants along with African-Americans farm laborers and white plantation owners.
Clarksdale figured prominently in the regional agricultural landscape and became pre-eminent when the International Harvester Company perfected the development of the single row mechanical cotton picking machine at the nearby Hopson Plantation in 1946. This technological advancement quickly revolutionized American agriculture and had far-reaching economic and social implications for the cotton industry worldwide and particularly for the Mississippi Delta.
Whereas previously the area's sprawling plantations were worked largely by an indentured African-American workforce, the rapid mechanization of cotton production made these underpaid and systematically exploited workers expendable. This change, concurrent with the return of many African American GIs from World War II accelerated what came to be known as The Great Migration to the north, the largest movement of Americans in U.S. history. The Illinois Central Railroad operated a large depot in Clarksdale which quickly became a primary departure point for many African-Americans in the area. This important rail hub provided an escape route away from an accelerating climate of racist hatred for which Coahoma County quickly became known as evidenced by violence against such local figures as musician Ike Turner and Civil Rights leader Dr. Aaron Henry.
The African American exodus from Mississippi was recounted with Clarksdale triangulated with Chicago and Washington D.C. in the award winning book "The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How it Changed America" by Nicholas Lemann. "The Promised Land" was later produced as a documentary film series by the History Channel narrated by award-winning actor and Morgan Freeman, who is also a co-owner of the local Ground Zero Blues Club.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,188, and the median income for a family was $26,592.
The legendary "Crossroads" at Clarksdale, Mississippi inspired the song Cross Road Blues.Clarksdale has been historically significant in the development of the blues, a form of music distinctively African American. The Mississippi Blues Trail, now being implemented, is dedicating markers for historic sites such as Clarksdale's once racially segregated Riverside Hotel where Bessie Smith died following an auto accident on Highway 61. The Riverside Hotel is just one of many historical blues sites in Clarksdale.
In the past fifteen years, the Clarksdale community at large has come to see its blues heritage as a viable economic resource worth exploiting and initial resistance on the part of affluent white business owners has given way to recognition of the African-American art form as a valuable cultural resource that they could control. Early supporters of the effort to preserve Clarksdale's musical legacy included the award-winning photographer and journalist Panny Mayfield, Living Blues magazine founder Jim O'Neal, and attorney Walter Thompson, father of sports journalist Wright Thompson.
In 1995, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund founder Skip Henderson purchased the Illinois Central Railroad passenger depot to save it from planned demolition. With the help of local businessman Jon Levingston and the Delta Council, Henderson received a $1.279 million dollar grant from the federal government to restore the passenger depot, which was then transferred to ownership of Coahoma County, to become part of a tourism locale dubbed "blues alley". The popularity of the Delta Blues Museum, the growth of the Sunflower River Blues Festival.
Clarksdale has received a historic marker as a site on the Mississippi Blues Trail by the Mississippi Blues Commission in recognition of its importance in the development of the blues in Mississippi. The marker is on Stovall Road at the cabin site of famed bluesman Muddy Waters. He lived there from 1915 until 1943 while he worked on the large Stovall cotton Plantation before moving to Chicago. A second Mississippi Blues Trail historic marker is placed at the Riverside Hotel that provided lodging for black entertainers passing through the delta. In August 2009 a marker devoted to Clarksdale native Sam Cooke was unveiled, just in front of the New Roxy Theatre.
KJIW 94.5 FM Helena, AR Gospel Music
WNEV 98.7 FM Friars Point, MS Blues
WCLD 103.9 FM Cleveland, MS Urban Contemporary
KCLT 104.9 FM West Helena, AR Urban Contemporary
WAID 106.5 FM Clarksdale, MS Urban Contemporary
WROX 1450 AM Clarksdale, MS Oldies
A small percentage of the businesses listed on BlackCityInfo.com may not necessarily be black owned and operated but have received favorable reviews from users who have visited the establishment, or from the owners themselves who warmly seek out African American patronage.
BEAUTY CARE - HAIR SALONS - MULTICULTURAL
Beautiful Blessings Salon - Category: Hair Salons - 2125 Cardinal Lane
Clarksdale, MS 38614 (662) 627-1585
DINING - CATERING - BBQ - SOUL FOOD
Abe's Bar-B-Q - Category: Bar-B-Q - 616 1/2 S State St Clarksdale, MS 38614 (662) 624-9947
Hicks' Food Variety Shop - Category: Bar-B-Q - 305 S State St Clarksdale, MS 38614 (662) 624-9887
Owens Soul Food - Category: Soul Food Restaurants - 601 Dr. MLK, Clarksdale, MS 38614 (662) 645-7478 - (visit website)
Pete's Blues Grill - Category: Bar-B-Q - 550 Sunflower Ave. Clarksdale, MS 38614 (662) 609-0560
Church of God in Christ - 365 Sunflower Ave, Clarksdale, MS
Friendship AME Church - 118 Martin Luther King Blvd, Clarksdale, MS 38614-5131
Ground Zero Blues Club - Category: Entertainment - 252 Delta Avenue
Clarksdale, MS 38614-4213 (662) 621-9009 - (visit website)
Juke Joint Festival (April) Sponsored by Clarksdale Revitalization Inc.
- (visit website)
Juke Joint Festival is "half blues festival, half small-town fair and all about the Delta." It celebrates our past AND living history by presenting over 100 blues acts during the course of the weekend.
Please help BlackCityInfo.com keep this page current by reporting inaccurate or outdated information. email@example.com
We here at BlackCityInfo.com have endeavored to provide you with accurate content from third parties, but
does not necessarily guarantee or endorse the reliability of these sources. So as with all resources please use common sense and reasonable caution. Use at your own risk.