A uniquely American creation, traditional 12 bar blues sprang from the rich cotton fields near Clarksdale, Mississippi and followed a trail through Texas and Chicago. Over time, it evolved from a crude melding of diverse European and African elements into one of our most expressive and endearing musical forms. Rhythm and Blues as well as Rock and Roll are direct descendants of Delta Blues, while classical art music and opera have felt its influence. In addition to studying the evolution of the music itself, societal influences such as slavery, migration, segregation, and recordings will be explored. Through a combination of lecture, group discussion, and listening, the complete stories of blues figures such as Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan will be brought to life.