This Day in Black History: June 14, 1998

B.B. King was honored as the official Ambassador of Music to represent America at the World Expo 1998.

Posted: 06/14/2013 08:49 AM EDT

Legendary blues musician B.B. King was named the official Ambassaor of Music by the United States government on June 14, 1998. The special honor allowed King to represent America at the World Expo 1998 held in Lisbon, Portgual.

Throughout his long and illustrious career, the "King of Blues" has racked up a host of additional honors and accolades, including an honorary Doctor of Music by Yale University in 1977, the National Medal of Arts in 1990, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006 and the Kennedy Center Honors in 1995. Both the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have inducted the icon into their historic museums.

King launched his career as a recording artist in 1949, performing mostly at a string of clubs and juke joints on the chitlin' circuit. His unique command of the blues, along with his revered status in rock and roll circles, gained him a wide, diverse audience of listeners from around the world.

“I’m trying to get people to see that we are our brother’s keeper,” King said in his biography. “Red, white, black, brown or yellow, rich or poor, we all have the blues.”

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 (Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

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