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Headstone Blues Videos

The Military Marker of Burl "Jaybird" Coleman

Hidden Histories of the Roots: Minnesota Bob Bovee
This series of performances features little known historical information about some of the most popular songs of American roots music. "In the Jailhouse Now," a composite version performed here by Minnesota Bob Bovee, was popularized recently in the movie O Brother Where Art Thou? and famously by Jimmie Rodgers, the Blue Yodeler of Meridian, Mississippi. Its origins, however, extend farther back in history...to the medicine shows in which he performed with Memphis blues legend Frank Stokes. For more information on Frank Stokes, visit his online memorial...

A Photographic History of Commemoration: From Morgan City to Memphis

Headstone Blues Initiative: The Unmarked Grave of Bo Carter

It is difficult to exaggerate the historical significance of Bo Carter in regards to the Mississippi blues. As blues historian Steve Calt points out, only one Mississippian—Memphis Minnie—made more pre-World War II records than Carter, and his music proved some of the most original of all the recorded musicians in the South. Considering the deep well of traditional material that he could have drawn from, his inventiveness is even more remarkable. He grew up in the central Mississippi town of Bolton, which boasted a large number of guitarists, many of whom came from an elder generation. He even had an estimated dozen musically-gifted brothers who formed a string band that played for white square dances. Yet, the majority of his estimated 150 sides reflect the work of a prodigious composer and astute businessman, who managed to keep heading into recording studios long after most blues musicians had returned to the barrel houses and jukes as a supplement to their incomes on the farm.
This video focuses on the artist's life and commemoration, or afterlife, if you will. The devastating impact of losing Willie Foster, Boogaloo Ames, and Ms. Davis in such a short amount of time left several communities in the Queen City reeling from such powerful blows. The Mt. Zion Memorial Fund launched the commemoration effort to mark her grave in September 2016. Deloris Franklin, formerly of the MACE Delta Arts Project, designed and ordered the marker, in conjunction with MZMF board chairman Euphus Ruth, through the Greenville, MS-based Delta Monuments Company. It was installed atop her grave in December 2016.

"See That My Grave is Kept Clean" Part 7
Abandoned Cemeteries in Mississippi
Produced by the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund
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In accordance with House Bill 780, Laws of Mississippi, 1971, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History certifies (through research and documentation) abandoned cemeteries that are historic and worthy of preservation so that county Boards of Supervisors can at their discretion expend public funds for the maintenance and preservation of the cemeteries.



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Or contact William Thompson by email or at 601-576-6946.


Headstone Blues Initiative
The Unmarked Grave of Bo Carter Pt. II
Produced by the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund
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It is difficult to exaggerate the historical significance of Bo Carter in regards to the Mississippi blues. As blues historian Steve Calt points out, only one Mississippian—Memphis Minnie—made more pre-World War II records than Carter, and his music proved some of the most original of all the recorded musicians in the South. Considering the deep well of traditional material that he could have drawn from, his inventiveness is even more remarkable. He grew up in the central Mississippi town of Bolton, which boasted a large number of guitarists, many of whom came from an elder generation. He even had an estimated dozen musically-gifted brothers who formed a string band that played for white square dances. Yet, the majority of his estimated 150 sides reflect the work of a prodigious composer and astute businessman, who managed to keep heading into recording studios long after most blues musicians had returned to the barrel houses and jukes as a supplement to their incomes on the farm.

"Please See That My Grave is Kept Clean" Part 3
Bessie Smith's Grave

Produced by Mt. Zion Memorial Fund



"See That My Grave is Kept Clean" Part 1
Sonny Boy Williamson II
Produced by the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund