The Robert Johnson Birthplace
Hazlehurst, Mississippi (Copiah County)
Robert Johnson was born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi on May 8, 1911, but spent much of his early life in levee camps and on plantations in the northern Delta. Johnson began playing harmonica and associating with older blues musicians and later abandoned the harmonica for the guitar.
Many have dubbed Robert Johnson the father of modern rock and roll, and he is considered one of the most prolific artists of the early blues. Although he did not live long enough to become as popular as many other blues artists, his music continues to influence musicians. Popular covers of his songs have been recorded by modern artists such as Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many more. Not only was Johnson a legendary bluesman, he was the subject of legend. Robert Johnson is rumored to have traveled to the crossroads near midnight to sell his soul to the devil, in exchange for being able to play anything and everything on the guitar.
His birthplace was constructed circa 1905 and was moved nearly a mile from its original location when the interstate highway was constructed. The property is currently vacant and is rapidly deteriorating.
2017 Update – No Progress
The town of Hazlehurst owns Robert Johnson’s birthplace and has hopes of restoring it. Officials are considering moving the house into the City of Hazlehurst; however, funding for the project has been an issue. The building has been secured against the elements. There is now a Mississippi Blue marker at this site but some historians are not sure if Robert Johnson was actually born in Hazlehurst.