The Mt. Zion Memorial Fund
For Blues, Music, and Justice
Our work is about saving the soul of Mississippi.
Dr. DeWayne Moore Executive Director
Working with the descendants of blues artists, such as Kechia Patton Brown, the great granddaughter of Chas. Patton, our Mississippi non-profit promotes the inclusive and responsible practice of memorialization and historic preservation in African American communities.
Welcome to Tutwiler, Mississippi
Shannon Evans beamishly details her return to Tutwiler, MS after many years to attend a meeting with the National Park Service (NPS) and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA).
Fulfilling the Mission
As part of our grant from the American Historical Association, we hope to enhance the transparency of our work through regular blogging. In this post, MZMF Fiscal Agent Corey Crowder shares a detailed account of his work in 2023.
“Kansas City” Jim Jackson
This blog post not only explains the historical significance of Jim Jackson in the history of the blues, but it also introduces stakeholders to our efforts to mark his grave in the racially segregated Hernando Memorial Park Cemetery in Hernando, MS.
Holly Ridge Cemetery
WE PUT BLUES COMMUNITIES BACK INTO AMERICAN HISTORY
Beginning with the ratification of the 1890 Mississippi State Constitution, which effectively disfranchised African American men and inspired white Mississippians to embrace more violent forms of racial discrimination, it became increasingly more difficult to preserve historical resources in African American Blues Communities. The formerly enslaved had steadily accumulated more and more land since emancipation and founded hundreds of autonomous settlements across the South. Since the 1890s, the descendants of Blues Communities dispersed, leaving the status and locations of many communities unknown.
The erasure of Blues communities in Mississippi has picked up speed in recent years due to several interconnected and destructive factors. Natural disasters (floods), population loss (migration), urban renewal (gentrification), land dispossession (heir property), and the profound lingering effects of resource hoarding (racial segregation) have prevented Americans from realizing the original goals to the Civil Rights Movement, and the erasure of historic Blues communities has accelerated due to the descendant communities’ need for technical assistance and professional training in historical research methods, which is required to overcome the erasure of African American history in government records.
THE BLUES COMMUNITIES PROJECT: OUR GOAL
In partnership with descendant communities, we hope to prevent the erasure and destruction of cultural resources–homes, churches, cemeteries, schools, photographs, documents, audiovisual media, physical artifacts, and oral histories–in African American Blues Communities. We plan to accomplish this goal by:
- Documenting and preserving stories, media about African American Blues Communities
- Constructing and maintaining an interactive, publicly accessible Archive & Atlas about African American Blues Communities
- Identifying resources and co-developing resilience strategies with descendant communities