Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Those interested in donating to the Mount Zion Memorial Fund may make checks payable to:
The Mount Zion Memorial Fund Inc.
P.O. Box 1114
Oxford, MS 38655

The Mount Zion Memorial Fund is a tax deductible 501(c)13 corporation. All donations will be used directly for the placing and upkeep of memorials. Thank you.

For more information, contact us at

We also accept donations through PayPal.  Click the 'Donate' button below.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Upcoming Fundraiser

On September 3, 2015, the MZMF is sponsoring a benefit concert to repair and raise the sunken and sullen grave marker of Eugene Powell, aka Sonny Boy Nelson, at the Blind Pig in Oxford, Mississippi.  Local-based musicians Eric Deaton, Davis Coen, and the eminent Tyler Keith will perform at the event.

“Sonny Boy Nelson’s greatness,” Keith asserted, “and his influence owe much to his knowledge of all types of songs from blues to novelty to dance numbers…It’s important to celebrate this tradition. It’s always good to have a place blues nerds, drunken white boys and those seeking some sort of mojo, can get drunk and leave an empty bottle of liquor.”
Special thanks to Rebecca Long Snow at the Local Voice.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sam Chatmon update

Sanders Garden Memorial Cemetery, Hollandale, Mississippi
Thanks to the Mississippi Blues Foundation, the Indianola Blues Society, Mortimer Funeral Home, and all the other generous contributors who made this project possible. The bench will be erected forthwith! And a formal dedication will follow later this year.
Special thanks to Euphus Ruth and Libby Rae Watson (in photo w/ guitar) who did the lion's share of work on this project. Libby has now performed at his funeral in February 1983, his headstone dedication in March 1998, and the installation of his new beveled headstone on August 10, 2015--"Sitting on Top of the World."

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sam Chatmon's new headstone and commemorative bench

Sam Chatmon's new beveled headstone and commemorative bench floated down the Mississippi River on flatboats yesterday to Greenville, Mississippi. Thanks to all who contributed to this project. We hope to have them both installed within the next couple of weeks!!!
Photographs of marker: Euphus Ruth
Photograph on marker: Rambling Steve Gardner

Monday, July 20, 2015

The University of Mississippi Panel

Skip Henderson, founder of the Mt Zion Memorial Fund (MZMF) and Steven Salter, president of the Killer Blues Headstone Project (KBHP) sat down at the Oxford Blues Festival on the campus of the University of Mississippi to answer questions pertaining to the unmarked graves of blues musicians, their respective experiences locating and preserving rural and urban cemeteries, and the different missions that serve as the driving force behind the cemetery organizations. According to Salter, one of Henderson's comments offered an apt summation of the differences between the two organizations: "Killer Blues takes care of the people who make the blues while [the Mt Zion Memorial Fund] takes care of the people who cause the blues." Having installed 51 grave markers, Salter and the KBHP have experienced substantial growth and achieved a new height of success after seven years. The MZMF, having initiated several legal maneuvers and erected thirteen markers and headstones to protect African American cemeteries in Mississippi, looks forward to continuing its work in the Magnolia State. Henderson reported that the new grave marker and commemorative bench for the grave of Sam Chatmon in Hollandale should be finished and installed in the fall.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Killer Blues and Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

(L to R) Steven Salter, president of the Killer Blues Headstone Project (KBHP); DeWayne Moore, executive director of the Mt Zion Memorial Fund(MZMF); and Skip Henderson, founder of the MZMF.

The directors of two cemetery organizations, which have erected historical markers and headstones for blues musicians, came together on the morning of July 18, 2015 for a panel discussion at the Overby Center at the University of Mississippi to kick off the 6th annual Oxford Blues Festival. Steve Salter answered a host of questions concerning, among other topics, 1) how the KBHP marked 51 unmarked graves of blues musicians since its incorporation in 2008, 2) the problems that explain why that number should be as high as 54, and 3) how the institutional origins of the KBHP inspired its broad range of fundraising efforts. Henderson talked about the endeavors of the MZMF to save rural, black cemeteries in Mississippi, which stemmed from its first headstone projects in the 1990s. Working strictly in Mississippi, the MZMF encountered a host of issues that were not too much of a problem in the more urban realm of the KBHP, such as non-existant plot maps and aggressive agricultural developers. In contrast, whereas the highest expense of KBHP projects was often installation fees in urban cemeteries, which sometimes cost more than the headstone itself, the MZMF rarely encountered exhorbitant cemetery fees, having often paid no fees whatsoever to place the markers of such blues musicians as Big Joe Williams in Crawford, Mississippi.

Monday, May 19, 2014


The Mt. Zion Memorial Fund, on behalf of Estella Ford and Fat Possum Records, invites everyone to the dedication ceremony for the headstone of James Lewis Carter “T-Model” Ford at Green Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery off Highway 82 West outside of Greenville, the “Queen City” of the Mississippi Delta.  The graveside ceremony will be held at 4 o’clock on Saturday, May 31, 2014.  The reception will be held afterwards at the Walnut Street Blues Bar (128 South Walnut Street) in Greenville.  Local food and live music will be provided.
T-Model Ford died at home in Greenville of respiratory failure after a prolonged illness on Tuesday, July 16, 2013.  Amos Harvey, formerly of Fat Possum Records, stepped up to help cover the costs of the visitation at Redmond Funeral Home on North Broadway Street in Greenville, and friends and admirers of the blues musician held fundraisers at the Walnut Street Blues Bar in Greenville, the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic in Marshall County, and other locations throughout the state.  Gravel Road, the blues singer’s former backing band, as well as Chris Johnson from Bayport BBQ helped finish out the payment on the funeral costs.  The funeral service was held at the Washington County Convention Center on July 27.  Musician and songwriter Robert Mortimer, Jr., of Mortimer Funeral Homes, donated the burial plot and vault for the local blues singer in the newly named “Legends” section of the burial ground.  The grave marker was designed by Amos Harvey and engraved by Alan Orlicek.