Hugh Sidey's America: Sad Song Of the Delta

In a tormented corner of Mississippi, the soil is rich and the people are poor, but the blues aren't as blue as they used to be

Aaron Henry recalls the days when Bobby Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey were on the line, calling from Washington to his tiny Fourth Street Drugstore in Clarksdale to give heart to the movement. Foot soldiers in the bloody civil rights wars crowded the store's narrow aisles in those days, desperation and what sometimes seemed like misplaced hope overcoming their justified fears. Now, in the soft afternoon shadow, the phone is silent, and there is only one visitor, come to ask how things have changed.

Henry, a thickset man of 68, has been head of the state chapter of the National Association for...

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