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Mississippi Blues Trail unveils 204th marker in downtown Jackson

Jackson, Mississippi — May 23, 2019 — The Mississippi Blues Commission recognized the blues contributions of H.C. Speir with the unveiling today of a Mississippi Blues Trail marker.

“The seeds of the blues may have taken root in the Mississippi Delta, but they grew in part because of the efforts of individuals like H.C. Speir on Farish Street,” said Visit Mississippi Director Craig Ray. “This historic area was fertile ground for the genre to flourish into an art form consumed by the masses.”

Henry Columbus (H.C.) Speir played a crucial role in the recording of dozens of blues, country and gospel artists in the 1920s and ‘30s. In his position as owner of Speir Phonograph Company, founded at 225 N. Farish St., he located, recommended or auditioned talent for various record labels and supervised recording sessions in Jackson and Hattiesburg. Charley Patton, Skip James, Tommy Johnson, Bo Carter and the Mississippi Sheiks all recorded under Speir’s auspices.

Visit Jackson President and CEO Rickey Thigpen and family member David Speir attended to commemorate Speir’s contributions to the Mississippi blues.

The marker is located at 225 N. Farish Street. It joins three other Mississippi Blues Trail markers in the historically significant downtown area. The marker is the 204th installment on the Mississippi Blues Trail.

Launched in 2006 by the Mississippi Blues Commission, the Mississippi Blues Trail commemorates the people, places and history of blues music, the American art form responsible for shaping modern popular music. The free Mississippi Blues Trail app is available now for iOS and Android devices. For additional information, please visit msbluestrail.org.