Skip to content

At noon on Wednesday, June 19, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, Tammy L. Turner will present “Dick Waterman: A Life in Blues.”

Dick Waterman—born in 1935 to an affluent family in Massachusetts—never heard blues music at home but became one of the most influential figures in blues of the twentieth century. A close proximity to Greenwich Village in the 1960s fueled Waterman's interest in folk music and led to an unlikely trip that resulted in the rediscovery of Delta blues artist Son House in 1964. Waterman began efforts to revive House’s music career and soon became his manager.

Waterman would go on to work with numerous musicians, including such luminaries as B.B. King, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, and Eric Clapton. He founded Avalon Productions and worked to protect his clients from exploitation, demanded competitive compensation, and fought for royalties due them. During the early years of his career, Waterman documented the work of scores of musicians through his now-celebrated photography.

“Dick Waterman is a true hero of American roots music. He played an absolutely essential role in introducing genuine Delta and Chicago blues to a world audience, as the manager, booking agent and friend of blues giants,” wrote Bruce Iglauer, co-founder of Living Blues magazine. “In the course of his colorful career, he established close personal relationships with legendary figures like Son House, Skip James, Buddy Guy, and Junior Wells. This book is packed with his true-life tales of these iconic musical figures and his deep (and sometimes funny) insights into their offstage personalities.”

Tammy L. Turner teaches a variety of university music courses including music history, history of jazz, and history and sociology of rock and roll. Turner earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee–Martin, her master’s from Southern Illinois University–Carbondale, and her doctorate in music history from the University of Mississippi. Her areas of interest are classical and vernacular styles of twentieth century music, particularly blues music.

The program will take place in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium in the Two Mississippi Museums—the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—located at 222 North Street, Jackson. There is no charge to attend. Copies of the book will be for sale. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email


June 26—Roger Ward will present “A Closer Look: Silhouette Artists in Antebellum Mississippi.”

July 3—Christopher Span will discuss his book From Cotton Field to Schoolhouse: African American Education in Mississippi, 1862-1875. Sales and signing to follow.

July 10—Kathryn B. McKee will present "Mississippi in the Work of Sherwood Bonner.” Sales and signing to follow.

July 17—Timothy B. Smith will present "The Real Horse Soldiers: Benjamin Grierson’s Epic 1863 Civil War Raid through Mississippi.” Sales and signing to follow.

July 24—James Pate will present "Pickett’s History of Mississippi.” Sales and signing to follow.

July 31—Tom Howorth will present "Frederick A.P. Barnard: the Man and the Observatory.”

View All News Releases