State erects 173rd Blues Trail marker; honors Handy

CLEVELAND — The “Enlightenment of W.C. Handy” is the subject of the next Mississippi Blues Trail marker to be unveiled Thursday at the Bolivar County Courthouse.

The Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division says in a news release that Handy’s account of his “enlightenment” in Cleveland is one of the most widely circulated stories in blues history.

Handy, a composer and musician, said his idea of music was changed by a Mississippi Delta musical trio being showered with coins in 1903.

In his 1941 autobiography, “Father of Blues,” Handy said the Broadway hits his orchestra performed didn’t elicit the same kind of monetary response from the crowd of white celebrants at a dance at the old Cleveland courthouse.

He later began performing blues.

This will be Mississippi’s 173rd blues trail marker.

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