finding your roots

The Late Blues Legend Robert Johnson

Carol Jackson July 2, 2012

I am assisting Robert Harris, the great nephew of the late Blues legend, Robert Johnson, research information pertaining to the legal estate of his late uncle. Robert Harris’ grandmother Carrie Thompson, the half sister of Robert Johnson, entered a legal contract with Mr. Steve LaVere in the 1970′s for rights to photographs of Robert Johnson which were private family photos owned by Carrie Thompson. The family never received any money for the photos even after the contract with Mr. LaVere was rescinded .The concerned parties have been in legal battles since this time. Robert Harris is recognized as a legitimate relative of Robert Johnson by the Mississippi courts. An illegitimate son named Claud Johnson came forward and the Mississippi court system named him legal heir without DNA testing. In lieu of DNA testing a questionable eyewitness account was made by an individual claiming to have seen Robert Johnson and Claud Johnson’s mother engaging in relations in the woods. Mr. Robert Harris is a dear friend of myself and another researcher, and we would love to help him find his roots. Our two year quest to help Robert Harris has been hindered by many roadblocks. Mr. Harris is looking for help from Mr. Graves to inform him whether or not it is possible to determine family relationship between him and Claud Johnson through DNA, since the exact burial site of Robert Johnson is unknown. Also, Robert Harris would like to know more about his own family tree including that of his great uncle Robert Johnson, and share this with the world. Mr. Harris’ goal is to establish a music school for underprivileged children in the Mississippi Delta area, where Robert Johnson was born, in order to keep his blues legacy alive. Another matter of great importance to Robert Harris is to preserve his great uncle’s body of work, since it has had such a great impact on hundreds of musicians over the span of the last one hundred years. Many great artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, John Mayer, Keith Urban, and a host of other superb musicians were inspired by Robert Johnson to pick up a guitar and learn to play. Any assistance you can give would be greatly appreciated! As of this time, our resources are limited.

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  • Garth Tuttle

    July 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    It is possible to persuade a higher court to incist on a DNA test for all calimants to any estate, especially that of a famous person .
    It is likely htat a bit of recearh could lead you to someone – a journalist with a bit of pull or connections to a good lawyer , for example, who can help force the issue ; certainly the family of another Johnson (i.e. Ebony ) might well be willing to take up the cause .

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The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

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