“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Jackson in Madison County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Mabel Louise "Big Maybelle" Smith

Mabel Louise "Big Maybelle" Smith Marker - two days prior to dedication image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Curtis Wise, July 22, 2019
1. Mabel Louise "Big Maybelle" Smith Marker - two days prior to dedication
Born circa 1924 in Jackson, Tennessee, "Big Maybelle" became a powerful Rhythm & Blues Singer. With her emotive delivery, and as one of the premier R&B chanteuses of the 1950s, she served as an essential link between raucous 1950s R&B and the soul sounds that emerged in the next decade. Her recordings include Candy, which received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999, and the original version of Whole Lot of Shakin Going On. Her career led her to sing at the famous Apollo Theatre in New York City. She died January 23, 1972 in Cleveland, Ohio, and later buried there in Evergreen Cemetery. In 2011 Smith was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
Erected by Tennessee Historical Commission. (Marker Number 4D 63.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainment. In addition, it is included in the Grammy Award Winners, and the Tennessee Historical Commission series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1924.
Location. 35° 36.521′ N, 88° 
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49.02′ W. Marker is in Jackson, Tennessee, in Madison County. Marker is on U.S. 45 at milepost 11 south of Dr Martin Luther King Jr Drive, on the right when traveling south. Located across the street from the Main Post Office on Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jackson TN 38301, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mother Liberty CME Church (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Former Site of Merry High School (about 600 feet away); Butler Race Track c. 1825 / Memphis Conference Female Institute 1843-1923 (approx. ¼ mile away); Jackson Spoke Here (approx. ¼ mile away); First United Methodist Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Electro Chalybeate Well (approx. 0.3 miles away); 215 E. Baltimore (approx. 0.3 miles away); Bond-Horton Building (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jackson.
Also see . . .
1. Big Maybelle - Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (YouTube, 3 min., audio with still photos). (Submitted on July 22, 2019.)
2. “Big Maybelle” Receives Tennessee State Historical Marker ( (Submitted on July 22, 2019.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 23, 2019. It was originally submitted on July 22, 2019, by Curtis Wise of Jackson, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 357 times since then and 83 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on July 22, 2019, by Curtis Wise of Jackson, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 6, 2023