Two icons of the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival – Early Wright and Julius Guy – are honored each year with the selection of successors who have continued their outstanding contributions to preserve, perpetuate, and promote blues and gospel music.

The Early Wright Blues Heritage Award

The symbolic leader of the Sunflower River Blues Association, Early Wright, “The Soul Man,” broadcast on WROX Radio for 52 years, and interviewed celebrities from Elvis Presley to Bobby Rush.

1991Early Wright
1992Skip Henderson
1993Sid Graves
1994Jim O’Neal
1995Panny Mayfield
1996Lillian S. McMurry
1997John Ruskey
1998Johnnie Billington & Howard Stovall
1999Lew Houston
2000Maie Smith
2001Yvonne Stanford
2002Doris & Sam Carr
2003Frank Ratliff/ Sonny Payne
2004Catherine Clark
2005Nat   McMullen
2006Red Paden
2007John Sherman
2008Steve Ladd
2009Dr. Frank T. and Rita Marascalco
2010Wade   Fondren
2011Shelley Ritter
2012Morgan Freeman/Bill Luckett
2013Roger Stolle
2014Harold Pontez
2015Ginger Johnson/True Value Hardware William H. Gresham, Jr.
2016Paul Wilson
2017Charlie Musselwhite
2018James ”Super Chikan” Johnson
2019Anthony Saffold
2020No Award due to Covin-19
2021Samuel Davis Margaret Jordan Walker
2022Coahoma Community College

Julius Guy

Julius Guy, a community leader and activist for Clarksdale youth, co-founded the Sunflower River Gospel Festival with Melville Tillis.

1994James Julius Guy
1995Rev Wars Carter
1996Rev Willie Morganfield
1997Melville Tills
1998Johnnie Kennard
1999Kenneth Lackey
2001James Williams
2002Norman Collins
2003Edwin Fox
2003Revered Lloyd Jackson
2024Edwin fox
2005Nancy Forte
2006Dot Johnson
2008Rose Williams
2007Nathaniel Jackson
2008Kevin Towers
2010CV Veal
2011Claudette Williams
2012Rev Marvin Myles
2013Chapel Hill Men’s Chorus
2014Sons lf Wonder
2015Myra Turner/P. J. Walker
2016Terry Carr
2017Marge Harris
2018Locust Grove M.B. Church Morning Star M.B. Church
2019Minister Ricky Burton & 4ever Grateful
2020No Award due to Covin-19
2021Annie Bell Revel
2022Pastor E. L. Martin, III