Muddy Waters MOJO Museum (Chicago, Illinois)

African American Civil Rights Network

The Muddy Waters MOJO Museum in Chicago, Illinois is actively working to preserve Muddy Water’s house, a Chicago Landmark, and to create a museum honoring the musical style known as “the blues”.

The blues is a uniquely American musical genre created after the U.S. Civil War by African Americans in the southern United States. In the 1940s, the city of Chicago became the center for a blues style known as Chicago Blues. This new sound was an amplified electric version of the blues rooted in the musical stylings of the Mississippi delta, but heavily influenced by life in America's cities. Muddy Waters was one of the primary creators of this new urban sound, becoming known as “the father of Chicago Blues”.

The historic Muddy Waters Home was bought by Waters in 1956, and was the first house he had ever purchased. Waters had an open-door policy and the house became a gathering place for blues musicians who were welcomed at all hours. Jam sessions were held in the basement rehearsal space and on warm days the sessions would sometimes spill out onto the porch and into the yard, entertaining the neighbors.

Muddy Waters and his electrified Chicago Blues style would go on to heavily influence the sound of early rock and roll as it evolved in the 1950s and 60s, helping to drive the British Blues rock movement. His guitar playing and musical sound continued to heavily influence hard rock musicians through the 1970s, helping rock and roll mature and become the dominant mainstream musical genre in America. Waters remained a popular and influential practitioner of the blues as well as a critical and commercial success up until his death in 1983.

Muddy Waters MOJO Museum became part of the African American Civil Rights Network in 2023.

The African American Civil Rights Network recognizes the African American Civil Rights Movement in the United States and the sacrifices made by those who fought against discrimination and segregation. Created by the African American Civil Rights Act of 2017, and coordinated by the National Park Service, the Network tells the stories of the people, places, and events of the U.S. African American Civil Rights Movement through a collection of public and private resources to include properties, facilities, and programs.

Last updated: January 31, 2024