Pick Up Game
Indianola, MS 1994

A group of young men play basketball on a dirt lot in the central Mississippi Delta town of Indianola, home of B.B. King. The area still faces many of the same hardships that King faced as a young man picking cotton and driving a tractor in the 1930’s and 1940’s. King, who plays a free concert in Indianola every June, spoke of the annual event in a PBS oral history: “It's important that I do the concert in Indianola because when I was growing up, we didn't have any role models. The only person I'd heard of that seemed to care about us, or that we could identify with was Joe Louis, the boxer…It makes me feel good that I can do something for the kids that wasn't done for us when I was growing up. So every year, the first week of June, for the last 29 years, I go back to Indianola, Mississippi and I play free concerts the whole week. And since Medger Evers was assassinated, I tie it all in together. I do what I call a "homecoming" in honor of Medger Evers. We kept that alive for these 29 years until somebody was convicted for the crime of killing him. And it's a good feeling - it's the highlight of my year to go down and see these little 7, 8, 9, and 10 year olds walk up to me like little men and women and say "How you doing B.B.?" That is a feeling I cannot explain to you.”