“Call me Rat,” Frank Ratcliff says when he meets us at the door of The Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The twinkle in his eye suggests that we were going to learn about more than a blues landmark. We are going to learn a bit about him.
I just finished an interview with Jessica Bays. She is a reporter for the “Clarksdale Press Reporter” in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Clarksdale is the Birthplace and World Capital of the Blues in the Mississippi Delta. Lots of Blues musicians have called it home including Sam Cooke, John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner and Muddy Waters.
So why is this interview important? In 1965 the Mississippi Delta was a hell for civil rights workers and the local people who worked with them.
The plans for the Civil Rights Travel Course seem as fantastic to me as Cinderella going to the ball. The outline of the class inspires me. But the pieces I want to add are something else – that’s where the fantasy lies. I have contacted a newspaper in Anniston, Alabama, about an interview. I’m waiting for an answer. I have gotten an answer from the Atlanta Constitution Journal. The reporter said that, if the idea were approved, I might get an interview or get to write a column. I am waiting to hear from the Atlanta Inquirer. And I’ve contacted the Clarksdale, Mississippi newspaper. Monday I call them all to see where we are. Bettina, my pr expert, has her list of radio stations, newspapers and television stations in Atlanta and the other cities we will visit. Ever learn to write a press release? I know I hadn’t.