100 Men D.B.A. Hall.
The great state of Mississippi has many cultural attributes, one of which is honored and remembered in a very special way. Created in 2006 by the Mississippi Blues commission, The Mississippi Blues Trail consists of 173 markers and historic sites throughout the state to commemorate the impact and history of Blues music. These markers can be found at a variety of significant landmarks that influenced Mississippi’s rich music culture. One of the most notable markers these is at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, where inmates recorded Blues on many occasions dating back to the 1930‘s. The National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Mississippi Department of Transportation have provided grants for the funding of various markers.
Following the Civil War, African Americans sought a variety of benevolent organizations in order to collectively increase their social, economic, and political power. Built in 1922, by the “One Hundred Members Debating Benevolent Association,” the hall has acted as a center of social life and entertainment for the African-American community in southern Mississippi. When it opened, the 100 Men Hall’s mission was to “assist its members when sick, bury its dead in a respectable manner and knit friendship.” And it continues to thrive today.
In addition to its original mission, the Hall has played host to a plethora of significant Blues performers over nearly a century: Big Joe Turner, Etta James and Guitar Slim, to James Booker, Professor Longhair and Deacon John.
After being sold and re-purposed as a bingo hall during the 1980‘s, the 100 Men Hall was revived as a musical, cultural center, and event rental venue after near demolition after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2005. Thanks to a grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the Hall has been restored to its original state.