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The Riverside Hotel, Clarksdale, Mississippi





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Uploaded on Feb 27, 2009

Frank Ratcliff "just call me Rat" owner of the Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale, Mississippi, tells about the history of each room in his hotel. The Hotel was home to many of the big names in the Delta Blues. Even JFK Jr stayed here.

On March 28, Clarksdale lost one of its most important connections to its blues past with the death of Frank "Rat" Ratliff, the proprietor of the historic Riverside Hotel. Founded in 1944 by Ratliff's mother Z.L. Hill, the establishment on Sunflower Avenue was operated by Ratliff following her death in 1997.

Ratliff gave tours of the building to thousands of blues fans over the years, sharing tales of former residents including Ike Turner, Sonny Boy Williamson II and Robert Nighthawk. One of the hotel's rooms was dedicated to blues queen Bessie Smith, who died there following an automobile accident in 1937 when the building housed the G.T. Thomas Afro American Hospital.


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