Charles Atkins Florida Memory - Musician Sir Charles Atkins and Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner at the Emancipation Day Celebration. (State Archives of Florida/Brockmann)

Charles Atkins was born in Daytona Beach Florida in 1944. While he was raised in St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, he attended middleschool in New York City, at the New York Institute For The Blind. During this time he became a member of a seven piece band, The Camerons. Atkins learned his craft at The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, just like Ray Charles before him. "At the school for the blind, we had about 40 people in the dorm and one piano on the floor, so you had to wait your turn," Charles recalls. "I've been playing ever since then, in some way, shape, form or fashion."

In 1963, while playing in The Daytona area with The Lindsey Morris Band, Charles remembers two young local musicians, Greg and Duane Allman, sneaking in the club to come sit in with the band. Atkins later attended Florida State University and earned a degree in music education. After spending some time in Los Angeles, he returned to Tallahassee, Florida where he now teaches the FSU Blues Lab.