"Somebody, somebody I’d never seen before, handed me a Lead Belly record with the song 'Cotton Fields' on it. And that record changed my life right then and there. Transported me into a world I’d never known. It was like an explosion went off. It was like somebody laid hands on me."
In 1918, he killed a man in a fight and was sentenced to thirty years in prison. In 1925, he wrote a song asking Texas Governor Pat Neff for a pardon. Neff, who had promised never to pardon a prisoner, broke his promise and set Huddie Ledbetter free.
A folk guitar master. She won her first Grammy at age 90.
He rose above many hardships to become a country icon.
An instrumental figure in the birth of country music.
The Jackie Robinson of country music.
The trailblazing Black female country star.
Born in the Mississippi Delta.
Born in New Orleans with roots in ragtime and the blues.
Black musical tradition is a part of its core.
The progeny of spirituals and cousin to the blues.