Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Southern Studies


Southern Studies

First Advisor

Adam Gussow

Second Advisor

David Wharton

Third Advisor

Greg Johnson

Relational Format



This work focuses on the social, political, and economic trends that govern the blues music scene in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Clarksdale is seen as a sort of “ground zero” in the blues world, it is often referred to as, “the land where blues began.” This claim is not without merit but it is not strictly historically accurate. Many of the town’s spokespeople use euphemisms that distort the troubled history of race relations in the town and its music spaces.

This investigation centers around the economic state of the town’s tourism industry, the individuals who act as the town’s promoters, and the general trends observed in the blues audience.

Available for download on Wednesday, August 16, 2023