About Us

Research is Respect
Marking Graves, Maintaining Cemeteries, and Telling the Stories of Legends

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Mount Zion Missionary Baptist
(MB) Church (f. 1909)
The Mt. Zion Memorial Fund (MZMF) was named after Mount Zion Missionary Baptist (MB) Church (f. 1909) outside Morgan City, Mississippi. Organized in 1989 by Raymond ‘Skip’ Henderson, the Fund memorialized the contributions of numerous musicians interred in rural cemeteries without grave markers, serving as a conduit to provide financial support to black church communities and cemeteries in the Mississippi Delta. The MZMF erected twelve memorials to blues musicians over a 12 year period from 1990 to 2001

Deacon Booker T. Young and MZMF director
DeWayne Moore in front of the present day 
Mt. Zion M.B. Church on the same site.
The renewed efforts of the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund since 2010 have been spearheaded by T. DeWayne Moore, a historian and scholar based out of Oxford, Mississippi. The relatives of Tommy Johnson and other interments in Warm Springs CME Church Cemetery obtained a permanent fifteen foot wide and half-a-mile long easement to the important site due in large part to efforts and compelling arguments of Moore, who took over as executive director in January 2014.  Under his leadership, the military markers of Henry "Son" Simms and Jackie Brenston were located and restored.  The MZMF has dedicated five new memorials--the headstone of Frank Stokes in the abandoned Hollywood Cemetery, Memphis, TN; the flat companion stone of Ernest "Lil' Son Joe" Lawlars in Walls, MS; and in Greenville, MS, the flat markers of T-Model Ford and Eddie Cusic, and the unique, yet humble, headstone of Mamie "Galore" Davis.  On July 29, 2017, the MZMF dedicated the marker for Bo Carter.  On September 22, 2018, the headstone of Belton Sutherland was dedicated at St. John M.B. Church in Camden, Mississippi.  On March 9, 2019, the headstone of Charlie Burse was dedicated at Rose Hill Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2020, we hired Alan Orlicek to repaint and restore the headstone of Sonny Boy Williamson II in Tutwiler, MS.

The Mt. Zion Memorial Fund believes inclusive excellence and diversity are vital to our vision and success, and we strive to demonstrate this in recruitment, monument design, and by offering services and transforming spaces into accessible social, intellectual, and physical environments for all. The terms “diversity” and “diverse”—in this statement--include but are not limited to creed, religious or spiritual beliefs, cultural differences, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, (dis)ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, class, veteran status, political affiliation, or political philosophy. We recognize and hope to amend the power dynamics created by power differences and hierarchy, and we seek to foster cultural competency as an organization.

We remain committed to: 

· Increasing representation of historically underrepresented/silenced people

· Understanding and advocating for individuals’ diverse histories, traditions, and identities 

· Providing forums for open, clear, and respectful dialogues that actively seek and engage with diverse perspectives 

· Identifying and mitigating bias and barriers to inclusion in personal and institutional interactions 

· Supporting the health and well-being of local communities through inclusive programs, services, and spaces. 

The Board and the Braintrust

T. DeWayne Moore - Oxford, MS
Executive Director - tmoriver@gmail.com

Skip Henderson, New Orleans, LA
Founder and Board Chairman

2019 Board of Associates

Kechia Patton Brown - Clarksdale, MS
Great Granddaughter of Charley Patton

Annise Bradley - Desoto County, MS

Oral Historian, investigator, and proponent of the Young Family Fife & Drum tradition

Robert Birdsong - Clarksdale, MS
Indiana Jones of the Blues

Joe Austin - Canton, MS
Madison County, Mississippi Liaison - Belton Sutherland

T. J. Wheeler - Hampton Falls, NH

Blues In The Schools Lecturer

Jontavious Willis - Columbus, GA

MZMF liaison in the old Southeast

Clayton "Bones" Harvey - Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Bill Pichette - Memphis. TN

Investigator and Founder of the The Little Pitcher Project

Arlo Leach - Portland, OR

Software Developer, Scholar, and Musician

Gabriel Soria - Bakersfield, CA

CA affiliate and caretaker of Rubin Lacy's headstone
MZMF executive director DeWayne Moore and
Duncan, MS affiliate Kechia Patton Brown

Tony Manard - Memphis, TN

Songwriter, Hellbilly, and Saint

Denise Tapp - Memphis, TN

Former Blues-L Zellar and Music Consultant

Justin Thomas Brown - Elm Grove, WI

Banker, Investigator, and Master of Subterfuge

Michael Duer, Tucson, AZ

Southwestern ballymunner, taphophile, and critic

Arne Brogger, Shorewood, MN

Promoter, mastermind, and music industry liaison

Augusta Palmer, Brooklyn, NY
Professor, filmmaker, and manager of The Blues Society

Carl Nichols, Milwaukee, WI
MZMF Minister of Culture

Prakash "Slim" Pokharel, Lalitpur, Nepal
MZMF affiliate, Musician, Educator, Researcher