350 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI interactive digital exhibit on the life and times of the Delta’s most famous son. The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale is also an innovative venue; it contains remnants of the cabin where Muddy Waters lived while working on the Stovall Plantation in Coahoma County. Most recently, the Grammy Corporation opened the Grammy Museum of Mississippi in Cleveland. Located next to the Delta State campus, the Grammy Museum explores the many contributions Mississippi has made toAmerican and global music. Through a combination of blues, country, and rock and roll, Mississippi’s musical legacy is cemented, and the Grammy Museum is dedicated to bringing that story to the general public. Located just outside of Cleveland in the tiny town of Merigold, Po’ Monkey’s Lounge was known as the last surviving rural juke joint for years. Willie Seaberry, an African American farm laborer, would for years shed his overalls two nights a week to don his loud, colorful suits to become “Po’ Monkey.” His DJ’s and live musicians entertained tourists, college students, locals, and anyone who wanted to have a good time. Today, a year after Seaberry’s death in 2016, his legacy continues. If one wants to experience a perfect blend of the old and the new Mississippi Delta, one need look no further than Po’ Monkey’s, an old shack on a dirt road near Merigold. While Mississippi’s varied geographic regions provide the Magnolia State with a deep richness in history, culture, and diversity, it is the Mississippi Delta that best defines Mississippi more than any other to the majority of people across the United States and around the world. Known to many as the “most Southern place on earth,” the Delta evokes a spectrum of emotions, experiences, and preconceptions. Historically, the region has possessed both lavish wealth and grinding poverty. As the celebrated “land where the blues began” and the birthplace of some of the nation’s most talented writers, the Delta is a mecca for cultural creativity and serves as an international tourist destination. The approximately 7,000 square miles of the Mississippi Delta have witnessed some of the nation’s most intense battles in the struggle for civil rights and equality. Today it is garnered in the majority by African American elected officials. Although the Mississippi Delta can appear to be a timeless place with its feet stuck in the past, it has not been immune to the powerful winds of change. Historian James Cobb has written that at its best, the Delta is a region glowing with warm hospitality and courteous manners. At its worst, he adds, the Delta has embodied cruelty, racism, and unbridled greed. A place that has endured great tragedy and showcased the resilience of the human spirit, the Mississippi Delta has been and remains one of the most intriguing plots of earth on our planet. SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON Blues singer, songwriter, and harmonica player Sonny Boy Williamson—originally given the name Aleck Miller—was born on a plantation near Glendora in December 1912. As his music career progressed, he became known as “Rice” Miller or “Sonny Boy No. 2,” not to be confused with the blues artist John Lee Curtis “Sonny Boy” Williamson, who died in Chicago in 1948. Known for his vibrant, often mischievous personality, Williamson quickly rose to fame for his live radio performances on the King Biscuit Time radio show beginning in 1941. Many critics consider Williamson one of the greatest Delta harmonica players, as well as one of the most influential blues composers of all time, with songs like “Nine Below Zero,” “Bring it on Home,” and “Eyesight to the Blind.” Songs such as “Don’t Start Me Talkin’” expose elements of his somewhat leery and mysterious nature, which could be attributed to his experiences on the plantation owned by Selwyn Jones, who had been reprimanded by the governor for mistreatment of African Americans just a few years after Williamson was born. Throughout his career, Williamson collaborated with widely acclaimed artists, including Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Robert Johnson, and many others. Williamson died of a heart attack on May 25, 1965, in Helena, Arkansas, and is buried in Tutwiler. The legendary artist was elected to the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980, its very first year of inductions. PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUES ARCHIVE, UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI