Monday, December 4, 2023

Downtown Clarksdale Sign Features a Smiling Mary Ann Connell

Mary Ann Connell sign
Clarksdale’s downtown Arts & Culture District has honored Oxford attorney and author Mary Ann Connell with her own sign on Sunflower Avenue. Photo by Milly West

Oxford attorney Mary Ann Connell, author of “An Unforeseen Life,” probably didn’t foresee that her visage would be displayed on a banner in downtown Clarksdale, but she’s one of a number of writers, musicians and athletes being honored by the Delta city.
Read Allen Boyer’s review of “An Unforeseen Life” here.
Connell’s banner can be seen on Sunflower Avenue, part of Clarksdale’s Arts & Culture District. “An Unforeseen Life” tells her story as one of the first women to practice law in Oxford, from her attendance of Harvard University with future president Barack Obama to her days as the university attorney at Ole Miss.
Connell’s late husband, Bill Connell, was from Clarksdale.
Clarksdale touts itself as the birthplace of the blues and has recently focused on building a “creative economy” based on the town’s culture and history. Signs around the Arts & Culture District celebrate well-known figures who are either from Clarksdale or have meaningful connections to the town.
Former Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett and blues historian Scott Barretta talk about Clarksdale’s growth as a cultural center.
Others commemorated in the district include legendary blues figures like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Son House and Howlin’ Wolf as well as Morgan Freeman, Sarah Moore, Junior Parker, Bessie Smith, Conway Twitty, and Tennessee Williams.
You can see a full list of the honored artists and their signs here. 

Rick Hynum is editor-in-chief of Email him at