Messenger’s Lounge, Mississippi John Hurt and Artist Lee Harper Featured in Mississippi Folklife Spring Issue

JACKSON, MISS. – May 8, 2020 – The Spring 2020 Issue of Mississippi Folklife is now available online at This digital journal features original writing, photography, films and documentary work focused on present-day folklife and cultural heritage throughout the state. Mississippi Folklife is a project of the Mississippi Arts Commission.

The three features included in this issue are as follows:

In “Where the Locals Go” by Addie Citchens, Citchens offers a touching portrait of Messenger’s Lounge, a combination pool hall, domino den, juke joint and café in Clarksdale. It is Clarksdale’s oldest continuously-run business. According to Citchens, “Messenger’s is both enduring and integral to the history of both the city and the blues.”

Through text, poetry and photography in “Avalon and Valley: Mississippi John Hurt’s Blues Base,” John Zheng explores the landscapes of the Avalon and Valley communities where blues legend Mississippi John Hurt lived, worked and made music. 

“In Conversation with Lee Harper of History Bones” features an interview by Maria Zeringue with Oxford-based artist Lee Harper, where Harper talks about her diorama project called “History Bones.” Harper makes dioramas of obscure historical scenes, cultural customs, events and local places. During the interview Lee discussed the origins and inspirations of this project and her artistic process. 

The issue’s editorial team includes: Addie Citchens, Music Editor; Amanda Malloy, Visual Arts Editor; Tamara Becerra Valdez, Digital Editor; and Maria Zeringue, Managing Editor. Contributors include Addie Citchens, Lee Harper, John Zheng and Maria Zeringue. 

Support for Mississippi Folklife comes from the Mississippi Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. This publication is freely accessible online at

Contact:  Maria Zeringue | Folk and Traditional Arts Director | | (601) 359-6034