Meridian in Lauderdale County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Meridian Rhythm & Blues and Soul Music
Rhythm & blues and soul singers have been major contributors to Meridianís deep African American musical heritage, extending the legacy molded by gospel, jazz and traditional blues artists. David Ruffin of the Temptations and his brother Jimmy moved to Detroit and starred as icons of the Motown sound, while Al Wilson became a hitmaker in California, and Eddie Houston, Pat Brown and Patrice Moncell enlivened the southern soul circuit in Mississippi.
David and Jimmy Ruffin head the list of renowned R&B and soul singers to emerge from Meridian. David, born in Whynot in 1941, and Jimmy, born in Collinsville in 1939, grew up in Meridian singing with their father Eli Ruffinís family gospel group, among others, before hitting the big time in Detroit. In the 1950s the Ruffins lived at 316 46th Avenue. David sang “My Girl,” “Ainít Too Proud to Beg,” and other 1960s hits with the Temptations, while Jimmyís greatest success came with “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” in 1966. Acclaimed for his emotional power and showmanship, David led a troubled life and died of a drug overdose in Philadelphia in 1991, while Jimmy relocated to England to continue his career.
Other Meridianites also sang with local church choirs or gospel groups before
Erected 2014 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 178.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 32° 21.833′ N, 88° 42.098′ W. Marker is in Meridian, Mississippi, in Lauderdale County. Marker is at the intersection of 23rd Avenue (State Highway 493) and 6th Street, on the right when traveling south on 23rd Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 517 23rd Avenue, Meridian MS 39301, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. Lauderdale County World War I Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Sit-Ins, Pickets & Boycotts (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Marks-Rothenberg Co. (about 500 feet away); The Grand Opera House (about 500 feet away); The Jewish Contribution (about 500 feet away); Urban Center Historic District (about 500 feet away); Temple Theater (about 500 feet away); African-American Cultural Heritage District (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Meridian.
Also see . . . Mississippi Blues Trail. (Submitted on September 24, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 24, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 378 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 24, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.