Exhibit on Rabbit Foot Minstrels to Open in Port Gibson, Mississippi
June 30, 2006
A new exhibit of pictures, stories, costumes, music, and sound pays tribute to the companies of African American musicians and actors who toured the country by train and bus during the first half of the 20th century, bringing the new blues music to popular audiences.
Founded by African American Pat Chapelle in 1900, "The Foots" became the most famous touring company in the South, featuring musicians as varied as Ma and Pa Rainey, Ida Cox, Louis Jordan, and Rufus Thomas.
After Chapelle’s death in 1911, the company was purchased by F. S. Wolcott, and from 1918 to 1950 had its headquarters in Port Gibson. Each spring, musicians from around the country assembled to create a musical, comedy, and variety show to perform under canvas.
The grand opening of the exhibit will be at 5 p.m. Friday, June 30, and will feature a keynote address by music scholar, historian, and performer David Evans, author of Big Road Blues.
A panel discussion will follow featuring invited guests Alex Albright, Jerry Bangham, Doug Seroff and Lynn Abbott, co-authors of Out of Sight, and Jim Sherraden of Hatch Showprint in Nashville, which printed posters and other advertising for the principal minstrel shows.
The evening will conclude with a performance by David Evans and his latter-day Memphis jug band.
For more information call
601-437-4351 or 601-437-8905
"From Rabbit Foot Minstrels to Blues and Cruise" is sponsored by the Claiborne County Board of Supervisors and funded in part by grants from the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Claiborne County Port Commission, the Mississippi Development Authority, and other generous patrons and contributors. Admission to the exhibit and to the events of the grand opening is free and open to the public.
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