Black History is a celebration of African American contributions to our culture, and Mississippi boasts a wealth of these contributions.
Mississippians were strongly influential in the development of the blues, and we earned an international reputation for the same.
Howlin’ Wolf was a giant of a man, at 6′ 6″. He was born in the tiny town of White Station (outside West Point). His was born Chester Arthur Burnett, but was given the nickname Howlin’ Wolf by another Mississippi music icon, Jimmie Rodgers.
BB King got his start singing in the choir of the Elkhorn Baptist Church in Kilmichael. Before King’s death in 2015, his musical legend grew to include more than a dozen Grammy Awards and a doctorate from Yale.
Black Mississippians embracing other performance genres, include Charley Pride of country music fame. Pride hails from Sledge. His early achievements came as a teenager on the baseball diamond, as a semi-pro pitcher for the Memphis Red Sox in baseball’s Negro League. Pride then began his circuitous route to singing stardom in a career that yielded 52 top ten hits on the Billboard Hot Country Charts. He was able to blend his success in the music business with his fondness for baseball by becoming an investor of the Texas Rangers in 2010.
If you’ve ever found yourself humming “Baby Love” or telling someone to “Stop, in the Name of Love”, you have the Supremes to thank. The Supremes rose to international acclaim with the beautiful Mary Wilson. The Greenville native sang along with Diana Ross on the exuberant string of Motown hits that peppered the 1960s and 70s. You can read about Wilson’s Mississippi upbringing and the fame that followed in her memoir, Dream Girl: My Life as a Supreme.