His father gives him his first guiter for his ninth birthday.
He leaves home for St Louis in 1920, where he starts playing in the city's clubs, by 1926 he is leading a small band in the Mississippi delta, Bukka begins playing more and more in Memphis.
Having been spotted in 1930 by talent scout Ralph Lembo, Bukka accompanied by Napoleon Hairiston, records 14 sides for the Victor label.
After shooting a jealous husband at a dance in Prairie in 1937, Bukka is sent to Parchman Farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, while in prison he gets a visit from Alan Lomax of the Library of Congress Archive of Folk Song in 1939, and he records Bukka playing 'Poor Boy' and 'Sic 'Em Dogs On'.
After his release from Parchman Farm in 1940, he records a series of songs for Vocalion, then he joins the Navy in 1942, but leave in 1944 and settles in Memphis.
In 1946 his cousin Riley B. King (the future B.B.King) lodges with Bukka for ten months.
He records his first album, Mississipi Blues, as the 1960's blues boom begins. He tours Europe in 1967 as part of the American Folk Blues Festival. He performs again in 1970 and 1972 also that year he records the album Baton Rouge Mosby Street in Germany. The following year he teams up with cousin B.B. King at the New Orleans Heritage Festival.
Bukka White dies of cancer in Memphis on 26 February 1977.