In the heart of the Mississippi Delta lies the town of Cleveland, one of the two county seats of Bolivar County. Named for President Grover Cleveland, the town began formation in 1869. Bolivar County has deep roots in the civil rights movement. Amzie Moore, a civil rights pioneer, opened a gas station, beauty shop, and grocery store on Highway 61 in Cleveland. His business also served as headquarters for the area’s civil rights efforts. His home was declared a historical landmark on May 13, 2008. Because of the Louisville, New Orleans and Texas Railroad that ran through the middle of town, people were drawn to Cleveland from outlying areas.
Often called the “Birthplace of the Blues,” Cleveland brims with musical history and avenues to learn about it. The blues are very much alive in this Delta community, and one of the best places to experience the heritage and culture that is the blues is just outside Cleveland at Dockery Farms, home to world-famous Delta blues musician Charley Patton. His former home was recently honored with a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail. Today, Cleveland is a nice, college town with friendly neighbors. More of a farming community than “small city,” the town’s unique Southern culture is the amalgamation of the blues, hand-spun Mississippi mud pottery, and mouthwatering delicacies like catfish and tamales. Cleveland is also home to the GRAMMY® museum. Recent exhibits were “Stronger Together: The Power of Women in Country Music” and a special limited-time display celebrating the music of Garth Brooks.