Hammond Hill MB Church in Como, MS
The Mt. Zion Memorial Fund dedicated the tall, granite headstone for Fred McDowell at the Hammond Hill Baptist Church cemetery in Como, Mississippi, in pouring rain on the afternoon of August 6th, 1993. The finances for the memorial were arranged with the help of noted blues photographer Dick Waterman, who contacted Bonnie Raitt and Chris Strachwitz, of Arhoolie Records, each of whom contributed a third of the costs.
Mt. Zion Memorial Fund attorney Robert Arentson, who also contributed to the project, almost lost his life that day. While attempting to stop and turn into the church parking lot, his vehicle hydroplaned and slid down the road for a ways, nearly careening down a steep embankment. He managed to regain control, however, and pulled safely into the parking lot. He was white as a ghost upon exiting his vehicle.
Waterman eulogized McDowell in front of a small crowd, including a number of the musician’s surviving relatives who were assembled at the church. In this case the memorial stone was a replacement for a smaller, damaged and inaccurate marker. The original headstone was subsequently donated by McDowell’s family to the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Sit down and write me few o’ your lines
Lord, that’ll be a consolation