Parchman Farm Blues
Parchman Farm In 1900 the state of Mississippi began buying parcels of land near this site for a penitentiary and soon accumulated about 16,000 acres, over half of which had been owned by the Parchman family. For decades the prison operated essentially as a for-profit cotton plantation; prisoners grew their own food, made their own clothing, raised livestock, and even served as armed guards or “trusty shooters.” The harsh working and living conditions made “Parchman Farm” notorious, but the state was later able to improve Parchman’s image by implementing prison reforms.
Folklorists Alan Lomax, his father John A. Lomax, Herbert Halpert,
White also recorded several memorable songs about his imprisonment, including “When Can I Change My Clothes” and “Parchman Farm Blues” in 1940, shortly after his release from Parchman. Other blues artists who served sentences here include R. L. Burnside, John “Big Bad Smitty” Smith, Terry “Big T” Williams, and, reportedly, Aleck “Rice” Miller (Sonny Boy Williamson No. 2),
Erected 2010 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 113.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1900.
Location. 33° 55.119′ N, 90° 29.809′ W. Marker is in Parchman, Mississippi, in Sunflower County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 49W and State Route 32, on the right when traveling north on U.S. 49W. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Parchman MS 38738, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. W.C. Handy Encounters the Blues (approx. 7.6 miles away); Legendary Home of the BluesTutwiler Funeral Home (approx. 7.6 miles away); The Staple Singers (approx. 7.7 miles away); Drew, Mississippi (approx. 7.7 miles away); Tallahatchie County (approx. 8 miles away); Emmett Till Murder Trial (approx. 8.1 miles away); Tallahatchie County Confederate Monument (approx. 8.2 miles away).
Also see . . . Wikipedia article on the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman Farms. Marker is located across street from Penitentiary entrance. (Submitted on May 28, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
The roads around the Penitentiary are marked "NO TRESPASSING" and "NO STOPPING". The guards yelled "No Photographing"!
Credits. This page was last revised on May 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 28, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 192 times since then and 64 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 28, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.