Clarksdale in Coahoma County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
The New World
This neighborhood, known since the turn of the twentieth century as the New World, was a breeding ground for ragtime, blues, and jazz music in Clarksdale's early days as a prosperous and adventurous new cotton town, when brothels here attracted both white and black clientele. Jews, Italians, Chinese, Syrians, and Greeks owned various local businesses, as did some African Americans who lived here, including the Messenger family, which opened its first business on this block in the early 1900s.
The New World acquired its name from Nelson Jones, an African American who built a saloon with an upstairs rooming house on the south side of the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad tracks, across from the site where the passenger depot was later built, according to H. L. Talbert, who arrived in Clarksdale in 1891. In 1948 Talbert recalled: ". . . he had a large sign erected on the front which read, Nelson Jones’ New World, and this part of Clarksdale has been known by that name all these years." This sector was also once known as Yellow Bottom(s), when early railroad workers stayed in yellow-painted shanties. African Americans moved into the housing when the railroaders moved on. Brick buildings were constructed after a devastating fire swept the area.
W. C. Handy, who lived in
Founded by Edward Messenger, who had a liquor license as early as 1907-08, Messengers was one of the earliest African American-owned local businesses.
Erected 2011 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 137.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 34° 11.899′ N, 90° 34.346′ W. Marker is in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in Coahoma County. Marker is at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Harrison Avenue, on the right when traveling east on Martin Luther King Boulevard. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 133 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Clarksdale MS 38614, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within First Baptist M.B. Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Aaron Henry (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Dr. Aaron Henry (about 300 feet away); Sam Cooke (about 600 feet away); Big Jack Johnson (about 600 feet away); Delta Blues Museum (about 800 feet away); Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival (approx. 0.2 miles away); Wade Walton (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Clarksdale.
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 154 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.