Memphis Minnie was born on 3 June 1897 in Algiers, Louisiana but her family moved to Tunica County, Mississippi before 1900 and she spent her childhood in Walls, Mississippi.
Her real name was Lizzie ‘Kid Douglas’ Lawlers. In the 1930s and 1940s, Memphis Minnie and Big Bill Broonzy were the two leading blues artists in Chicago.
Memphis Minnie’s grave is in the New Hope Baptist Church cemetery in Walls, Mississippi. The Memphis Blues Trail has placed a marker in the cemetery to commemorate Memphis Minnie.
The GPS location of Memphis Minnie’s grave is: N 34° 58.252′ W 90° 11.131′
Memphis Minnie’s gravestone was erected by the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund in 1996, twenty three years after Memphis Minnie’s death.
The inscription on the front side of Memphis Minnie’s grave reads:
“LIZZIE KID DOUGLAS LAWLERS
JUNE 3, 1897
AUG. 6, 1973″
The Mississippi Blues Trail has also placed a marker at this site to commemorate Memphis Minnie.
The front of the MIssissippi Blues Trailer marker reads:
“MEMPHIS MINNIE – Memphis Minnie (Lizzie Douglas 1897-1973) was one of the premier blues artists of the 1930s and ’40s. her singing and songwriting, spirited demeanor, and superlative guitar playing propelled her to the upper echelons of a field then dominated by male guitarists and pianists. In the early 1900s Minnie lived in Tunica and DeSoto counties, where she began performing with guitarist Willie Brown and others. She is buried here in the New Hope M.B. Church Cemetery.”
Memphis Minnie was a prolific recording artist but she is probably best known today for one song, When The Levee Breaks, which was covered by Led Zeppelin on the Led Zeppelin IV album. That song deals with the Mississippi Flood of 1927, which was a major event in Mississippi history. To see the Mississippi Department of Archives and History online collection of photographs of the 1927 flood, click here.
Here are Our Recommendations for Memphis Minnie CDs and Digital downloads.