I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking, but Clarksdale, Mississippi and Oxford, Mississippi are separated by only 60 miles of highway. They each have populations of around 20,000 and have rich histories: Clarksdale as the birthplace of the Blues (The intersection of Highway 61 & Highway 49 where Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil for the ability to play the guitar like a bat out of hell is right on the edge of the city) and Oxford as a de facto literary capital of the south (William Faulkner and John Grisham have called Oxford home) and the home of Ole Miss, aka The University of Mississippi.
According to US Census data, Clarksdale has about an 80/20 split between blacks and whites, while Oxford is essentially the inverse image, with 73% white and 19% black (the remaining population identifies as Asian or “Other”). During my brief day hopping between the two towns, I saw only a small handful of whites in Clarksdale, most of whom were Australians at The Ground Zero Blues Club who evidently had come to see The Delta Blues Museum, but were unaware that Jesus still holds court on Sundays in the Delta and that the museum (and everything else besides Ground Zero–which has amazing pulled pork, btw) would be closed. As for Oxford, it seemed slightly more integrated than Clarksdale, but was still overwhelmingly white.
Categories: Photo Diaries