Armenter Chatmon (aka Bo Carter)
Nitta Yuma Cemetery - Sharkey County, Mississippi
Headstone Location: 33.021206, -90.853481
director of the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund
An estimated seventy people attended the dedication of Bo Carter's headstone in Nitta Yuma, MS, including friends from California, Washington, Michigan, Georgia, and Mississippi. Nitta Yuma is a hamlet of maybe twenty inhabitants, on an old plantation in Sharkey County, Nitta Yuma Cemetery sits tucked into the corner of a huge field of corn and flush with Deer Creek., and we all drove through dusty paths to get there.
DeWayne Moore, director of Mt Zion Memorial Fund, which erected the monument and organized the dedication, spoke about the marker of Sam Chatmon in nearby Hollandale, and how working with locals on that project inspired this project. He also stated that the monument would serve to protect the cemetery from agricultural encroachment, as it sits on the edge of a large cornfield. Next to speak was Henry Vick Phelps III, owner of the plantation, who cooperated with the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund.
Miles Floyd prepared an amazing speech about his step-father, Ezell Chatmon, who had on his deathbed made him promise to fulfill three wishes. He wanted him to take care of his grandmother, take care of his mother, and make sure that Bo Carter gets the recognition he so very much deserves for his amazing recording career. Breaking into tears as he talked at the end, he stated that the marker was one more step towards completing the last wish and concluded: "Bo, I'm proud to be your grandson, very proud. And I can't wait to get to Bolton, Mississippi, stand beside your son's grave, and say your three wishes...have been fulfilled. Thank you.”
Alan Orlicek, the new engraver for the black granite, came up and helped unveil the headstone. Everyone was impressed with the marker and rushed to look at it and pose for pictures. A local politician had asked to say a few words in the spot on the program set aside for special guests, but about fifteen minutes after the unveiling, Cheseborough grabbed the National and started playing and singing, "I Want You to Know." The crowd applauded at the end of the tune, and I didn’t want to interrupt at that point. I’m glad to hear it worked out well.
|Bill Gandy, of Potts Camp, MS|
|Bill Steber and Ron Bombardi|
Then we all trucked out of the cemetery, up the hill to Nitta Yuma proper, for a reception in the chapel, where Andy Cohen was sitting up front playing for a dozen or so people. He took turns doing songs with Steve Cheseborough, who stuck rigidly to Bo Carter while Andy did Rev Gary Davis and Lonnie Johnson in his own style. When Miles Floyd and his family came in Cheseborough played "All Around Man," Miles’ favorite Bo Carter song. He loved it. He even had it engraved on the back of the marker.
|Andrew Cohen & Moses Crouch|