Jimmie Rodgers was born 111 years ago, September 8, 1897. "The Father of Country Music" was born in Meridian and spent much of his life here.
In honor of the 111th anniversary of his birth, the Jimmie Rodgers Museum in Meridian opened their doors free of charge to anyone who would like to visit and learn about arguably Meridian's most famous citizen and hear the sounds of the legendary entertainer.
"Jimmie Rodgers died in 1933. He only recorded for about 5 years because he was sick; he was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1924," said Betty Lou Jones, president of the Jimmie Rodgers Foundation. "He was brought to back to Meridian and buried here. And this museum was begun in 1976 to remember him and to keep up the very important facts about Jimmie Rodgers and his music. Jimmie Rodgers has been dead a long time, but he is still remembered as a very important person in the development of American music."
Jimmie Rodgers created what we now call country music, and he influenced many of the industry's most well-known talents. Some influenced by Rodgers include Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, Alabama, Charley Pride, Loretta Lynn, another legend in her own right, and the King himself, Elvis Presley.
The Jimmie Rodgers Foundation coordinates the Jimmie Rodgers Festival every year to celebrate the life of the music icon.
"In the words of Nolan Porterfield, who wrote the biography, 'Jimmie Rodgers has not left the building'."