Mance Lipscomb, born Beau De Glen Lipscomb near Navasota in 1895, spent most of his life working as a tenant farmer. Born into a musical family, he learned guitar as a youth and was a regular at local gatherings, playing blues, ragtime, Tin Pan Alley and folk music. He occasionally played with musicians like Blind Lemon Jefferson and Jimmie Rodgers, but did not make a record until 1960 when he was “discovered” during the 1960’s folk song revival period. He recorded many albums and gained notoriety for 15 years, until his failing health confined him to nursing homes and hospitals until his death in 1976. A sculpture of Lipscomb seated on a bench playing guitar graces the entrance to Mance Lipscomb Park, and “Blues Alley” at the far end of the park is lined with murals highlighting famous blues musicians.
Watch the following video to learn more about the history of music in Texas' African American communities. This video was produced for inclusion in the African Americans in Texas mobile tour found in our Texas Time Travel Tours mobile app. For more information about the mobile tour and African American cultural heritage in Texas, visit the African American Heritage theme page at the following link: http://texastimetravel.com/travel-themes/main-african-american-heritage