The Voice of the Southern Diaspora: Muddy Waters and the Multi-Layered Influences Associated with the Diffusion of Blues Culture

  • John Byron Strait Sam Houston State University
Keywords: Migration, Race, Diaspora, African-American identity Music


This paper focuses on the dynamic nature of the Southern Diaspora, the twentieth-century mass migration of African-Americans in the United States from the rural south to the urban north and west. The significant migratory links between the Mississippi Delta and Chicago, Illinois, and the influences it had on the larger diaspora are emphasized. The music of famed blues artist Muddy Waters is used as a lens to demonstrate both the causes and the significant impacts of this diaspora. By exploring the multi-layered circuitry of change associated with the evolution and diffusion of Delta blues music, this paper reveals the transnational and transcultural dimensions of the Southern Diaspora.

Author Biography

John Byron Strait, Sam Houston State University

John Strait is a broadly trained human geographer specializing in sociocultural, urban, and ethnic geographies. His main research and teaching interests lie at the intersections of racial and ethnic identities, urban residential dynamics, diaspora studies and the geographic dimensions of social movements and the ways they manifest via music, visual arts, urban street art, and religion. Dr. Strait regularly directs field courses and workshops that incorporate these various subject matter, particularly as they pertain to the U.S. South, the Mississippi Delta, Hawaii, Cuba, Spain and Brazil. He is currently a Professor of Geography at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, where he also serves as the Assistant Chair and Geography Program Coordinator in the Department of Geography and Geology.


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How to Cite
Strait, J. B. (2020). The Voice of the Southern Diaspora: Muddy Waters and the Multi-Layered Influences Associated with the Diffusion of Blues Culture. SOCIALreview. International Social Sciences Review / Revista Internacional De Ciencias Sociales, 9(2), pp. 133-146.