Reconciling the Blues King

Although the Mississippi Blues Trail marker installed in 2009 to purportedly further “racial reconciliation” and rehabilitate the state’s image as an intransigent racist backwater claims that he was buried in Pelahatchie, Mississippi (based on the information written on his death certificate), his remains actually never made it back to the Magnolia State–a fact that Mexican American blues artist, custodian, and Mt. Zion Memorial Fund affiliate¬†Gabriel Soria discovered in the early 1990s, when he raised the funds to mark his actual gravesite. Eschewing the Manifest Destiny-like memorialization process of the Blues Commission, Soria tracked down the descendants of the “Blues King,” learned the actual location of his remains, and worked with them to design and install his headstone in Union Cemetery in Bakersfield, California.¬†