STARKVILLE, Mississippi (AP) — The Man in Black is now honored on the Mississippi Country Music Trail.
A new Friday dedicated marker commemorates a night spent by Johnny Cash in the Oktibbeha County Jail.
In the early hours of May 11, 1965, Cash was arrested for public intoxication after he was found picking flowers at a private home after a performance at Mississippi State University. He spent the night locked up, and that served as the inspiration for his song, “Starkville City Jail.”
He performed the song for inmates of San Quentin prison in 1969, and it was included on the album “Live at San Quentin”.
“I’m so glad Mr. Cash didn’t realize this was the Oktibbeha County Jail,” Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill said. “It wouldn’t have been a good song. I’m glad he called it Starkville.”
Cash was symbolically pardoned for his 2007 Starkville arrest at the first Johnny Cash Flower Pickin’ Festival, the Commercial Dispatch reported.
Spruill said the new marker highlights an experience that Cash believes was the start of his road to personal redemption.
Cash has sold 90 million records worldwide, including country, rock, blues, folk and gospel.
The marker is at the corner of Mississippi Highway 182 and Jackson Street in Starkville. It is the 35th marker on the Mississippi Country Music Trail.
Arkansas lawmakers recently voted to designate “Johnny Cash Day” to honor the late artist, who was born in that state in 1932. Cash died in 2003 in Nashville, Tennessee.
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