In June 2022, the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund for Blues, Music, and Justice received funding from the American Historical Association to create a WebAtlas of African American Burial Grounds in Bolivar, Carroll, and Lowndes County, Mississippi. In September 2022, the MZMF received additional funding from the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area to expand the WebAtlas into Washington County.
In April 2023, the MZMF hired GIS analyst Michael Garet Madison to manage the WebAtlas. Garet earned two master’s degrees at Middle Tennessee State University–one in Public History and the other in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In Rutherford County, Tennessee, he worked on a GIS survey team locating African American cemeteries. He also earned a master’s degree in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology at Michigan Technological University, where he served as a member of the Keweenaw Time Traveler, a deep map in Michigan’s “Copper Country” linking disparate archives. Since 2019, he has developed a knowledge base in the Public Land Survey System, including land records research and county tax parcel polygon data.
We also plan to create a guided WebAtlas tour of memorials to blues artists. Please visit the WebAtlas and come back often for updates!
The Blues Memorials Tour
In 2018, we erected a headstone on the unmarked grave of Bo Carter in Nitta Yuma Cemetery in Nitta Yuma, MS. Visit our website to learn more about the project, and take the tour of our memorials on the WebAtlas!
The WebAtlas of African American Burial Grounds
Using ArcGIS mapping, archival research, and community-engaged memorialization, we collaborate with descendant communities to prevent the erasure of cultural resources and make African American communities more visible to those who can influence their chances of survival.