Cofield’s Corner

Published 7:47 am Wednesday, November 1, 2023

By John Cofield

An interesting story of the Mississippi Central Railroad relates to Blues legend W.C. Handy. He would ride the train from Memphis to Jackson, and his return trips took him through Oxford. 

Handy is said to have enjoyed the Ole Miss student riders. When he released his hit, “Ole Miss Rag,” it was believed to be about the train taking him from Memphis down into Mississippi. 

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But the Ole Miss students took it for their own.

Bill Faulkner not only was the best observer and listener I ever knew, but he was fully capable of sketching everything he saw as well as writing about it. His drawing of W. C. Handy, “The Blues Master of Memphis,” typifies exactly the Roaring Twenties at Ole Miss Era of the “hip-pocket flask,” the “raccoon coat,” and the “iron steed” awaiting without (namely the Stutz Bearcat). — J. R. “Colonel” Cofield

I shall always remember that time W. C. Handy played for a dance at Ole Miss, and Mr. Faulkner led the grand march. — Clifton Bondurant Webb