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Book of Lamentations, Mississippi Delta, Legacy Blues Music, Daughter Zion, Delta Blues


In the Book of Lamentations, Jerusalem 587 BCE is personified as the suffering and persecuted Daughter Zion.1 The biblical Daughter Zion and the present-day Mississippi Delta are separated in time by 2,604 years and separated in distance by 7,000 miles. Despite the vast expanse of space and time between the two, interesting and noteworthy comparisons can be drawn. In this paper, I will show how contemporary afflictions and persecutions facing the Mississippi Delta can be poetically retrieved through a consideration of the afflictions and persecutions related to the fall of Jerusalem. The cry of both dramas tragically emerges from the pages of Lamentations and find further expression in the classic musical laments of the Delta, known as the Delta Blues. I will note the correlations between the Book of Lamentations and Blues music in general and then parallel the narrative of the Book of Lamentations with the contemporary history of the Mississippi Delta. I will then present relevant lyrics from the Delta Blues to reveal the common laments of both sisters in persecution: Daughter Zion and the Mississippi Delta.

1 Kathleen M. O’Connor, Lamentations and the Tears of the World (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2002), 14.