With the Bessie Smith Cultural Center in Chattanooga and Beale Street Historical District in Memphis it could be easy to think that one of these locations, New Orleans, the Mississippi Delta, or other places in America were the birthplace of the form of music known as “the blues.”
In reality this category of melancholy sounds existed long before African Americans put the blues to music.
Some historians contend that the expression arose in the belief of every English settler in American that “blue devils” or mean spirits, had followed the voyagers to the New World.
When someone got a bout of depression these devils were thought to be the cause of sadness and resulted in the blues.
Under the horrible circumstances surrounding slaves that made them sad, African Americans displayed their new expression of the mood in a unique and brilliant musical form that has evolved into one of the most popular and historical forms of human articulation of feelings.
(Excerpts from “The Little Book of Answers” – Author – Doug Lennox – (2003) – MFJ Books – New York, NY 1001.)