This Week's Featured Marker:
On September 7, 2009 the 84th Mississippi Blues Trail marker was dedicated in honor of the Club Ebony in Indianola, Mississippi. The event was particularly special because B.B. King, who has performed regularly at the club since the 1950s, was in attendance and spoke at the ceremony. The club is one of the few remaining nightclubs that were part of the “chitlin’ circuit” of African-American nightclubs in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. In 2008 King purchased the club from longtime owner Mary Shepard in order to preserve an important part of blues history. She recalled her years with the club in her biography, The Life of Mary Shepard: Queen of the Legendary Club Ebony. The club features large shows occasionally and a weekly blues jam on early Sunday evenings as well as events sponsored by the Mississippi Delta Blues Society of Indianola.
Since the 1980s King has performed at the club once a year in tandem with the annual B.B. King Homecoming Festival, an outdoor event that usually takes place in early June in Indianola’s Fletcher Park.
The Club Ebony is located on Hanna Street just around the corner from the B. B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, which features artifacts from the club and its predecessor, Jones Night Spot, which is also acknowledged on the marker.
The Club Ebony marker replaced an earlier marker that served as a prototype for the Mississippi Blues Trail. Just a block away is another Blues Trail marker that celebrates the blues heritage of Indianola’s Church Street, where Jones Night Spot and other clubs were once located. Although King claims Indianola as his hometown, he was actually born in nearby Berclair, where he is honored with his own Blues Trail marker.
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