This black history month, the Delta News is featuring four Mississippi natives whose contributions helped advance rights and opportunities for minorities or made life more enjoyable for everyone.

This week, the focus is on perhaps the most famous Mississippian of all: B.B. King

B.B. King

The King of the Blues

(birthplace video)

Born at a farm house near the Berclair community in Leflore County, though the town of Itta Bena has long been associated with him.

Sample of performing

As a child, he lived with his grandmother in Kilmichael. Later, he pedaled a bicycle back to Indianola, where he landed his first job, driving a tractor at a cotton gin.

A gin that would later become the gallery at the b-b king museum and delta interpretive center.

But King wasn’t just about music.

In 1971, he partnered with attorney F. Lee Bailey and co-founded the Foundation for the Advancement of Inmate Rehabilitation and Recretation, or FAIRR.

And he performed here many times, the historic Club Ebony.

Sample of performing

The thrill is gone

King’s most famous song earned the first of his 15 Grammy awards

His career included many television appearances, including this scene from the comedy Sanford & Son

Sample of performing

It’s been said that music is the universal language.

B.B. King, through his gift of music, was an ambassador for the state of Mississippi, and for the United States of America.

Continue the thrill is gone

I’m Woodrow Wilkins.

Join us next week for another installment of the Delta News Celebrates Black History Month.

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