April 23, 1940: Fire kills over 200 at Rhythm Night Club in Natchez

Boarded up windows, inadequate exits, and overcrowding contributed to one of the deadliest fires in United States history. The fire, which killed noted Chicago bandleader Walter Barnes, inspired a number of blues songs, the most famous of which, “The Natchez Burnin’’ was recorded over 15 years later by Howlin’ Wolf.

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