Sunday, February 4, 2018

Where is the Love for Willie Love?

Many of our great Mississippi bluesmen have been laid to rest in remote places often without a headstone to mark the site of their internment. Never before has an organization from outside the state partnered with a local blues society and been so cheap that the marker dedicated to the artist was too small to leave on site, but that is exactly what happened when the Killer Blues Headstone Project partnered with the Central Mississippi Blues Society for a publicity stunt in Elmwood Cemetery on November 18, 2017. According to the Central Mississippi Blues Society president, Malcolm Shepard, 

“The partnership with the Killer Blues Project from Michigan has graciously provided funding for the headstone at the grave of Mr. Willie Love, Jr., as they fulfill their mission to honor blues legends of the past by helping them receive final resting place honors. Placing of a headstone will give prominent and lasting recognition to industry giants that did not receive accolades while they were alive. Seating a headstone is a final tribute that will forever be an outward symbol for Mr. Love’s family and blues lovers of the future to educate them about his contributions and give him a place in the annals of history.”

The Jackson Advocate reported that a "headstone [would] be seated at the gravesite of Mr. Willie Love, Jr., on November 18, 2017 in the Elmwood Cemetery, located at 2002-2215 Decatur Street, Jackson, MS." 

Yet, no marker sits at the gravesite of Willie Love, wherever that is exactly, as the location of his grave was never discovered.

So, many questions remain. Why not take the time to follow the procedure established by the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund in the 1990s?  Why not graciously purchase a larger, heavier marker that will not get stolen from the urban cemetery if the cheap footers are so prone to theft? Why not graciously donate more for a stone that does live up to all the rhetoric and flowery language in the president's statement? Why not visit the Amistad Archives in New Orleans and search through the records of the funeral home that buried Willie Love in the 1950s to actually find out where he is buried?

One answer is that a photograph was all that was wanted and no one cared enough to find his grave or any family and mark his grave properly. A photograph shows a tiny stone sitting on a brick structure with several people standing around it, but the marker is not there either. A celebration was later held at a music venue.  For what I'm not quite sure.

From what I understand the grave marker sits in someone's garage--NOT ON HIS GRAVE!

Maybe you can get some facts and information, contact the Central Mississippi Blues Society at 601-613-7377.

For more about Willie Love, please click HERE