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The Crossroads - Clarksdale, Mississippi

Crossroads - generally understood as an intersection of two or more roads.  Or in the Mississippi Delta and Blues music legend, the location where Robert Johnson exchanged his soul to the Devil in return for becoming a talented musician.

Johnson, born in 1911, was an aspiring blues musician who, in his early years, was not as good at playing guitar.  In the early 1930s, he disappeared from the local juke joint music scene.  Johnson returned to the scene in 1932 with a unique style and ability. His transformation in his abilities led to the legend that he sold his soul to the Devil.

I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees  / I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees / Asked the Lord above, have mercy now, save poor Bob if you please.  ---Robert Johnson

The mystery isn't limited to how Johnson came to excel at the Blues, where the alleged meeting with the Devil is also a question.  There are four possible locations: the first at the intersection of Mississippi Highways 1 & 8 in Rosedale. The intersection of Old US Highway 49 and Old US Highway 61 in Clarksdale - Clarksdale has erected a roadside monument, calling it the home of the crossroads.  The dirt road intersection of Lusk and Walker Roads at Dockery Plantation is another possibility.  Finally, another dirt road intersection (Mound City and Frazier Roads) near Beulah may have been the site.

Clarksdale's crossroads - the intersection of Old US 49 and 61 - is also home to Abe's BBQ.  In business since 1924, Abe's BBQ - then known as the Bungalow Inn - would have been standing that Mississippi night.  

Mural at Abe's BBQ in Clarksdale that depicts Robert Johnson at the Crossroads.

Johnson passed away in 1938 at age 27.  His death, the cause, and the reason for it remains a mystery.

All photos taken by post author - July 2023.

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