The Blues are on display at the Monticello Civic Center

Published 2:07 pm Friday, November 3, 2023

The Civic Center and Regional History Museum in Monticello will have an open house featuring prominent Blues artists from Lawrence County, on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. This is the same day as Monticello Marketplace, on Broad Street in front of the Civic Center, at the intersection of Hwy. 184 and Hwy. 127/F. E. Sellers Highway.

The Regional History Museum, located in the Lawrence County Civic Center, has a Blues display to honor two men with family origins in the county. Byther Smith and J. B. Lenoir are well-known Blues artists, who were born and raised on Price Road in the Topeka-Tilton and Jayess areas of southern Lawrence County. Smith and Lenoir were cousins who both developed their careers in Chicago, where Blues clubs were popular.

The Museum has considerable information about Byther because his daughters have been in contact with the archivist, Dr. Bonita Musial, for several years. They generously provided one of his guitars to display, and posters from various tours in Europe and North America, as well as other memorabilia.

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The Blues Music display includes stories, photos, and magazine articles about Byther and Lenoir’s careers, along with audio of some of their music. Plan to come and enjoy listening to their music, as well as learning about these remarkable men.

The event is free and includes other areas in the Museum, such as Lawrence County’s Native Americans, early history, railroads, and military history. Regular hours are 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday. Call 601-587-4422 for further info.