All day celebration honors ‘Queen of Blues’ Lil Green Friday in Port Gibson

Published 9:44 am Thursday, September 9, 2021

By Donna Hayden

Special to the Democrat

PORT GIBSON — If you are a real blues lover, plan to spend the day at the “Lil Green Day Celebration,” which kicks off at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 10, at 507 Market St. in Port Gibson.

Mississippi Cultural Crossroads will be the host for this day-long celebration which includes a morning panel discussion, a book signing, lunch, an afternoon tour, and wraps up with a lively reception featuring good food and great music.

The Mississippi Blues Trail marker honoring Lil Green is the second marker to be placed in Claiborne County. The first is for the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. The Crossroads Gallery has more information and artifacts related to each marker on display.

Morning blues panel

Beginning at 10 a.m., a distinguished panel of blues aficionados will share their insights and experiences during a panel discussion.

Panelists include Peggy Brown, the executive director of the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame and CEO of Hit the Road Entertainment; YZ Ealey, a Natchez Blues musician and a Delta Blues Music Museum Hall of Famer; and Dr. Brinda Willis, a freelance writer, public speaker and artist manager. There will be time for questions from the audience.

Following a light lunch, enjoy a presentation by Grammy-winning blues man Bobby Rush as he discusses his life and career in his new book “I Ain’t Studdin’ Ya.” Signed copies of the book will be available to purchase on site and Rush will personalize your copy if desired.

Afternoon tour

Between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. attendees can choose to enjoy a “Taste of Port Gibson” tour of historic sites in and around town, including the street where Lil Green lived as a child. Other options include hanging out in the gallery to enjoy a film or continue the Blues conversation or exploring Port Gibson sites within walking distance on your own.

Evening reception

Finish the day with a reception fit for a queen in honor of Lil Green, the queen of the blues.

This year, we honor the queen with a student writing contest and some of the entries will be selected for reading during the program. The writing contest was the brainchild of Ann Steinmetz, who spearheaded the effort to get the Lil Green marker added to the Mississippi Blues Trail. It was not only a way to introduce students to Lil Green’s legacy, but also to encourage students to think about how music impacts their lives today, and possibly inspire some to pursue their own musical interests.

The Lil Green Day Celebration will conclude with an outdoor concert featuring the 2021 Governor’s Award winner Nellie “Mack” McInnis and her band.

The Lil Green Day Celebration is sponsored in part by support from Visit Mississippi, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Port Gibson Heritage Trust, the Claiborne County Economic Development District, Ann Steinmetz as well as other businesses and individuals.

Additional information about the Lil Green Day Celebration can be found on the Cultural Crossroads website at www.msculturalcrossroads.org/lilgreenday.