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Supporting the Riverside Hotel

The Riverside Hotel is the building in which Bessie Smith passed away.  It was also the home-away-from-home for influential musicians like Muddy Waters, Sam Cooke, Howlin Wolf, Duke Ellington, John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner…and more.  Ike Turner first rehearsed Rocket 88, the first rock and roll song, in the basement of the Riverside Hotel. When Sam Cooke sang of being "Born by a river.." he was singing of the Sunflower River behind this legendary hotel.  Contemporary world music owes much of its history to this humble hotel owned and operated by one African American family - the Ratliffs - for four generations.

Recently a tree fell on the Riverside Hotel, compromising its structure and threatening the survival of this historic treasure.  To find out how you can support the Riverside and its proprietors, email Crossroads Cultural Arts Center at and join the network of supporters!

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“Clarksdale sits at the  legendary crossroads of Highways 61 & 49 where Robert Johnson was said to have sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for perfecting the sound of the Blues. Clarksdale is ground zero for the birth and cultivation of the Delta Blues. The Blues quickly became the basis of all modern music. If the Blues is a national treasure, the treasure box where they were perfected throughout the Delta, then the world, is The Riverside Hotel. We must  preserve this treasure box of American history and culture.  The Riverside Hotel has both mythical and mystical memories. It’s very walls have ears and eyes that speak truth to history.”

- Dr. Bernard Demczuck

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