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James Thomas
Principal information

A good reference for his biography is

"I came out of Eden, about eleven miles north of Yazoo City. Couldn't make nothing out of no cotton. And I decided to leave there because I didn't want the children to come up like I did, picking all that cotton and not clearing no money at all. And so it got to a place where it was time for me to clear out. I got away from all of it and been living in Leland since 1961."

After moving to Leland, in the central Mississippi Delta, James "Son" Thomas (1926- 1993) emerged as a dynamic blues musician, recording and performing throughout the United States and Europe. He was also a sculptor, working since childhood in native clay dug from the banks of the Yazoo River. In 1982, he participated in the exhibition, BLACK FOLK ART IN AMERICA, 1930-1980, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The attention he received following this historic exhibition established his reputation as one of the most important southern vernacular artists of the civil rights era. Well documented in books and films, Thomas is best known for his sculptures of human skulls and unflinching portraits of the people he knew.

Full Name: James "Son" Thomas

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Folkstreams Filmography

Thomas, James appears in
  Give My Poor Heart Ease: Mississippi Delta Bluesmen
I Ain't Lying: Folktales from Mississippi
Sonny Ford, Delta Artist
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