The Delta is not a river delta.
It is a floodplain. The Mississippi Delta is in the northwest of the state of Mississippi. It’s boundaries would be Memphis, Tennessee to the north, the Mississippi to the west, Vicksburg to the south and the Yazoo river to the east. Author David L. Cohn was quoted as saying the Delta “begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg.” This “delta” was created by constant flooding over eons, leaving behind some of the most fertile land in the world.
The river delta at the mouth of the Mississippi is about 300 miles south of here, and is referred to as the Mississippi River Delta. The two often get confused but there really is no relation.
The Delta and its history of slavery, racial problems, oppression and the poverty that comes with being the poorest state in the union was the crucible where all of this boiled over into what we call blues. All the pain, sorrow, misfortune and desperation that the Southern African Americans lived with every day became song. This was their form of protest. The blues were the feelings of a person beyond hope. Someone who is being crushed and beat down by others. Someone just wanting to be free of bad luck and trouble.
The blues were born in this area following the Civil War. It derived from the field hollers and church music of the time. The songs and music of the early Delta blues were passed down orally. It was not until the 1920’s that the first blues was recorded. In time, the blues headed north to Memphis and continued to spread worldwide while helping to shape popular music of all forms.