Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Darren Grem

Relational Format



This thesis analyzes the social and racial factors that contributed to the cultural significance of U.S. Highway 61. First, I explore the background of road building and transportation in the United States. Next I detail the history of convict labor in the South, from convict leasing to convict labor on roads as a result of the Good Roads Movement. Third, I describe how economic and social conditions contributed to the out-migration of southerners during the twentieth century. Lastly, I analyze how social conditions spawned the Mississippi Delta blues, and how Highway 61 became a symbol of opportunity for blues musicians.

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