Kilmichael in Montgomery County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Kilmichael: B.B. King's Roots
Riley B. King, who was born in the Delta fifty miles west of here in 1925, spent many of his formative years in Kilmichael in the 1930s and ‘40s before achieving stardom as “B. B.” King. His first mentor on the guitar was the Reverend Archie Fair, who played while preaching at a local church. King credited his teacher at the one-room Elkhorn School, Luther Henson, with instilling in him dignity, independence and hope, qualities that served King well during his long career.
B.B. King is most often associated with his adopted “hometown” of Indianola, but it was here in Kilmichael, in Mississippi’s hill country region, that he first decided to pursue music. King was born in tiny Berclair, and following the breakup of his parents, Albert and Nora Ella, when he was four years old, he and his mother moved to Kilmichael. He lived here mostly with her mother, Elnora Farr, who was a sharecropper on the farm of Edwayne Henderson, where young Riley also picked cotton. Farr, whose maiden name was Davidson, was born in Chickasaw County in northeast Mississippi, and was related to bluesman Booker “Bukka” White. As a child King met White and saw him perform. King would later live with White during his first stay in Memphis.
King recalled that he first
King’s life in Kilmichael was also marked by tragedy. His mother died when he was just nine years old, and his grandmother passed away when King was fourteen; both are buried in the cemetery of the Pinkney Grove Missionary Baptist Church. After his grandmother’s death King lived
Erected 2012 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 159.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 33° 26.459′ N, 89° 34.189′ W. Marker is in Kilmichael, Mississippi, in Montgomery County. Marker is at the intersection of South Depot Avenue and West Main Street, on the right when traveling south on South Depot Avenue. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 105 South Depot Avenue, Kilmichael MS 39747, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. The "Final Spike" (approx. 9.5 miles away); Montgomery County Confederate Monument (approx. 9.6 miles away); Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway (approx. 10.1 miles away); Roebuck "Pops" Staples (approx. 10.1 miles away); Winona Confederate Monument (approx. 10.4 miles away); Ensign William Devotie Billingsley (approx. 10.6 miles away); Col. James Drane (approx. 14.1 miles away); French Camp (approx. 14.1 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. Mississippi Blues Trail. (Submitted on October 27, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Wikipedia article on B.B. King. (Submitted on October 27, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 129 times since then and 62 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.