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The Great River Road: How A Mississippi Museum Got Federal Recognition

CLARKSDALE, Miss.–The blues brings money into Mississippi and it was another kind of blues marker unveiled Wednesday. The Delta Blues Museum is in Clarksdale, a city with those blue Blues Trail Marker all over it. But this marker is a Mississippi River Interpretive Center Marker, and it’s about the Great River Road.

“We’ve been an official Mississippi River Interpretive Center for several years and this is just a way to make it more obvious for visitors traveling the Great River Road and visitors who come to Clarksdale who may not know about the Great River Road,” said Shelly Ritter, executive director of the museum…

“All the blues artists had to use the river, the roads and the railways to get around,” said Ritter. She said the Great River Road runs along the river from Minnesota, all the way through to Louisiana, following “Big Muddy”, or the Miss. River.

In Mississippi, it’s Hwy. 1. It’s a two-lane, lonely stretch of highway where you might see bear crossing signs and a lot of woods right next to the river.

“We know that Robert Johnson traveled 49 and 61. He probably traveled 1 going to Rosedale.”

The Delta Blues Museum has exhibits on artists like Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, II, B.B. King and Robert Johnson, who have strong ties to the Delta.

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