November 30, 1909
Blues great Robert Nighthawk was born Robert Lee McCollum in Helena—present-day Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). Nighthawk was among the most remarkable slide guitarists in blues history, widely admired among his peers and the Southern audiences he spent his life entertaining. Nighthawk influenced a generation of bluesmen such as Muddy Waters, B. B. King, Earl Hooker, and supposedly Elmore James. He was the archetype of the rambling bluesman, roaming all over the South with frequent trips to the North, though he chose Helena as his home base. This rambling nature and his decision to remain in the South likely explain why Nighthawk never achieved greater fame.