Johnny Cash receives Mississippi Country Music Trail marker

State

FILE – In this Sept. 17, 1997, file photo, singer Johnny Cash testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on copyright infringement in Washington. The Man in Black is about to get his own day in Arkansas. The Arkansas House on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, gave unanimous final approval to a bill that would make Feb. 26 “Johnny Cash Day,” sending it to Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who plans to sign it. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds File)

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — The Man in Black is now being honored on the Mississippi Country Music Trail.

A new marker dedicated Friday memorializes a night Johnny Cash spent in the Oktibbeha County Jail.

In the early hours of May 11, 1965, Cash was arrested for public drunkenness after he was found picking flowers at a private home after a show at Mississippi State University. He spent the night locked up, and that served as inspiration for his song, “Starkville City Jail.”

He performed the song for inmates at San Quentin Jail in 1969, and it was included on the album, “Live at San Quentin.”

“I’m so delighted that Mr. Cash did not realize it was the Oktibbeha County Jail,” Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill said. “That wouldn’t have been a good song. I’m delighted that he called it Starkville.”

Cash was symbolically pardoned for his arrest in Starkville in 2007 at the inaugural Johnny Cash Flower Pickin’ Festival, the Commercial Dispatch reported.

Spruill said the new marker highlights an experience that Cash believed was the beginning 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 35th marker on the Mississippi Country Music Trail.

Arkansas legislators recently voted to designate a “Johnny Cash Day” to honor the late entertainer, who was born in that state in 1932. Cash died in 2003 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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