"You might say, it all started right here," said
B.B. King, standing near the Dockery Farms Seed House, while
narrating the documentary film Good Morning Blues. This
plantation community in the Mississippi Delta was established
by Will Dockery in 1895 to produce cotton, America's most
important export of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
The migration of whites and blacks to the Delta to cultivate
cotton created a culture which in turn gave birth to the
Blues. By the 1920's Dockery Farms had grown to a community
of several thousand workers and it was home to a number
of Blues pioneers, among them Henry Sloan, Charley Patton,
Willie Brown, Tommy Johnson, and Roebuck "Pop"
It was at Dockery that these musicians lived and learned
from one another. They played in the boarding houses and
commissary at Dockery, and in the juke joints of neighboring
towns where they were joined by Robert Johnson, Elmore James,
Sonny Boy Williamson, and Howlin' Wolf. They left Dockery
on the plantation's Pea Vine Railroad and traveled north
to record. Their songs would influence the development of
popular music all over the world.