Bride from Cotton Plant Played Guitar: Rosetta Tharpe's Recorded Wedding Album on Exhibit

March 1, 2019 9:00 AM to April 6, 2019 5:00PM

Delta Cultural Center - 141 Cherry Street, Helena-West Helena AR

Additional Event Details

  • Gospel/blues star Rosetta Tharpe, a baseball stadium, 25,000 fans and a full-blown fireworks show-- it was the biggest wedding the District of Columbia (DC) had ever seen! A copy of the recorded album which memorializes the performer’s actual wedding ceremony is now on exhibit at the Delta Cultural Center (DCC).The album records the marriage rites as well as the wedding ceremony concert that the Delta-born guitarist/singer performed as a part of her July 3, 1951 wedding ceremony-- while still wearing her wedding dress.

    Imagine being so famous that people wanted to listen to you get married!Held in the District of Columbia’s (DC) Griffith Stadium, it was sold out! Advance admission ranged from 90 cents for seats in the nosebleed section to $2.50 for the first-base dugout. Not even Rosetta’s half-sister Emily, who came up from Arkansas for the event, got a free ticket. Twenty-five thousand spectators attended the nuptials.

    The world acclaimed performer from the small town of Cotton Plant, Ark., is credited with influencing many blues, gospel and rock and roll musicians of the time. Tharpe was and is recognized as the “godmother of rock-’n’-roll.”It is because of the enormous influence that she had on so many genres of music that Rosetta Tharpe is also the DCC’s pick as its Women’s History Month honoree.

    In the tradition of the Pentecostal church, she was one of the most remarkable musicians of the 20th century. Rosetta Tharpe died in Philadelphia in 1973, while preparing a new album of gospel favorites. In 2017, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    The DCC’s hours of operation are Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This unique find will be on exhibit for public viewing through April 8.Admission is free.For more information, contact the DCC at 870.338.4350, or visit


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