Meridian native and former railway worker - first as a water boy and later as a brakeman - Jimmie Rodgers is revered as the "father of country music". Having been something of an entertainer as a child, organising travelling shows twice by the time he was 13 years old, Jimmie returned to the world of entertainment after contracting tuberculosis.
Rodger's illness had ended his career with the railways and he moved to Asheville in North Carolina. His first major breakthrough as an entertainer was a regular slot on Asheville's only radio station, WWNC. His first 'big hit' as a recording artist was "T-for Texas", which sold almost half a million copies.
Over the course of his short career, the 'Singing Brakeman' balanced recording and performing with his fight against his illness; he died in 1933, within 36 hours of his final recording. The Jimmie Rodgers Foundation is devoted to preserving the heritage of country music. It presents special events throughout the year in Jimmie's home town of Meridian. The Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Museum is dedicated to his life, work and country music.