If the Shack Up Inn evokes one kind of Mississippi past, Clarksdale’s Riverside Hotel evokes another. It was once the African-American hospital where blues legend Bessie Smith died (her room is a shrine to her that is not rented), and from the 1940’s on has been a hotel. Frank “Rat” Ratcliff is the owner, and can tell the visitor all the famous blues and soul legends who have stayed there. While it isn’t fancy, and while the rooms don’t have private bathrooms, it is clean and extremely difficult to get a room there during Juke Joint Festival

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