100 Years Ago,
February 6, 1919
Mr. and Mrs. J. Holmes Baker spent Sunday with relatives in Greenville
Mrs. W. R. Early and daughter, Pauline, spent last Thursday in Greenville.
W3 thank George Scroggins of Baird for a year’s subscription to the Tocsin.
50 Years Ago,
Nine Indianola High School band students received honors at the band clinic at Delta State University.
Four of those received first chair, Steve Bonner, Sammy Shepard, John Colotta and Carol Fultz.
Recipients of silver trays for outstanding cotton and soybean production for 1958 include George Lipe, Waldemar Prichard, James Robert and Louis Vance for soybeans and Johnny J. Hall, Jr. in the cotton division. The event was sponsored by the Indianola Chamber of Commerce.
25 YEARS GO, February 10, 1994
The Indianola Public School Board has hired former school administrator, Cassie Pennington as the new Superintendent of Indianola Public Schools.
The Pleasant Valley First Baptist Church will hold their annual Black History program this Sunday. Shirley Farmer will be the guest speaker and guest soloist will be Pamela Durham.
15 YEARS AGO,
February 5, 2004
For 30 years, Mary Shepherd has operated the familiar night spot, Club Ebony There will be a special celebration this weekend featuring Bobby Rush and his band.
Cody Britt, son of Mr. and Mrs. Boyer Britt, III was awarded Grand Champion Lamb at last Saturday’s Livestock Show.
Mrs. Mary Shepherd
The well known and respected night club owner, Mary Shepherd, now lives in West Point, Mississippi with her daughter. Though the famed Club Ebony is now owned by the B. B King Foundation, Mrs. Shepherd remembers with gratitude her years there. “Those were wonderful years and I was happy to bring such great performers to the Delta. In addition to that, I made lasting friendships with people like B. B. King, Denise LaSalle, and others,” Shepherd said.
Club Ebony is one of the South’s most important minority owned nightclubs. Much of its fame can be attributed to Mary Shepherd. The club was built right after World War II by Indianola entrepreneur Johnny Jones. Jones recalled in a 1948 memoir that B. B. King would come to the club before he was old enough to enter to look and listen through a window to some of the well-known artists at that time like Louis Jordon and Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie and Mary Shepherd bought the popular night spot in 1975. Through Mrs. Shepherd’s leadership, well known artists continued to perform there, and the crowds continued to grow.
“We had artists like Ike Turner, James Brown, Clarence Carter, Denise LaSalle, Bobby Rush and others. When B. B. started returning home to perform at the festivals in his honor each year, he always had a late-night concert at Club Ebony. He packed in the crowds. Those were wonderful days,” she said.
Though the Queen of Delta blues, as some refer to her, now lives in West Point, her heart remains with Indianola and Club Ebony. “I am very honored that I am thought of as bringing music history, especially the blues, to Indianola,” she concluded.