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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.