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Henderson in Henderson County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
 

Father of the Blues

 
 
Father of the Blues Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 17, 2017
1. Father of the Blues Marker
Inscription.  William Christopher (W.C.) Handy, the Father of the Blues, lived in Henderson from 1892 to 1903. Handy, recognized as the first person to publish the blues, received his "calling" to create this written record while in Henderson. "It was there I realized that the experiences I had had; things I had seen and heard could be set down in a kind of music characteristic of my race." His first tune, originally written for a political campaign, was later changed to The Memphis Blues. Handy went on to write 40 blues songs and about twice as many spirituals.
 
Location. 37° 50.442′ N, 87° 35.667′ W. Marker is in Henderson, Kentucky, in Henderson County. Marker can be reached from North Water Street north of 1st Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located along the pedestrian walkway in Audubon Mill Park, overlooking the Ohio River. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101 North Water Street, Henderson KY 42420, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Henderson's Governors (a few steps from this marker); John James Audubon in Henderson (a few steps from this marker); General "Stovepipe" Johnson (within shouting distance of this marker); Lewis and Clark in Kentucky / Henderson
Father of the Blues Marker (<i>tall view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 17, 2017
2. Father of the Blues Marker (tall view)
(within shouting distance of this marker); Steamboats (within shouting distance of this marker); Military Execution of Guerrillas (within shouting distance of this marker); Good Government League (within shouting distance of this marker); Audubon Saw and Grist Mill (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Henderson.
 
More about this marker. Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted horizontally on waist-high posts.
 
Also see . . .  W.C. Handy, Songwriter (1873–1958). W.C. Handy was an African-American composer and a leader in popularizing blues music in the early 20th century, with hits like "Memphis Blues" and "St. Louis Blues." He played with several bands and traveled throughout the Midwest and the South, learning about the African-American folk music that would become known as the blues. Handy played the cornet at shows and eventually made his way to Kentucky, where he was hired as a musician in the well-to-do in the city of Henderson. In 1909 Handy wrote what was to become a campaign song called "Mr. Crump," named after Memphis mayoral candidate Edward H. "Boss" Crump. (Crump won the election, although the lyrics of the song weren't the most flattering). The song was later reworked and became "Memphis Blues." Handy made a deal to get the song published in 1912, and henceforth became a trailblazer in bringing the form's song structures to large audiences. (Submitted on August 14, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Father of the Blues Marker (<i>wide view; Ohio River in the background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 17, 2017
3. Father of the Blues Marker (wide view; Ohio River in the background)
 
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, Music
 
<i>Portrait of William Christopher Handy</i> image. Click for full size.
Carl van Vechten (photo courtesy of the Library of Congress), July 17, 1941
4. Portrait of William Christopher Handy
 
More. Search the internet for Father of the Blues.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 15, 2018. This page originally submitted on August 12, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 27 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 14, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   4. submitted on August 15, 2018. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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