In 2003, the year of the Blues, the State had formed a Commission. Receiving a grant from the NEA and contributions from four Delta counties. The Commission erected numerous markers with text and images. Ultimately, they plan to have 120 markers and in the future will equip the markers with transmitters for audio and possibly video as well.
Fred McDowell moved to Como, "the hilly country" just north of the Delta in 1940 and married Annie Mae Collins that same year. He was a simple family man who was employed as a tractor driver. He and Annie Mae recorded many spirituals. Fred had a hypnotic trance like style. He was overlooked during the original pre-war blues wave. He slipped through the cracks until he was recorded in 1959 by Alan Lomax.
The stretch of road on Route 7 in Avalon is surrounded by hundreds of acres of cotton fields. There on Route 7 is the marker for John Hurt, a peaceful, gentle and kindhearted soul who lived in the country with no aspirations of becoming famous with his musical talent. He first recorded in 1928 and then fell into obscurity for the next 35 years. He may have been the most important discovery during the folk years in the mid 1960's. Even though he lived in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, his music was not typical of the area. There was an old timey, traditional, ragtime feel that pre-dated blues very much in the Piedmont East Coast style.
Little Zion M.B. Church on Money Road in Greenwood. Next to the church is the graveside of Robert Johnson. On and around the gravestone were a collection of gifts, tributes of respect, gratitude and affection. There was a harmonica, some jewelry, coins, and a liquor bottle.
Just as we were leaving, a man arrived and introduced himself as Sylvestor Hoover, Deacon, and offered to show us the interior of the church, which was built by fieldhands and sharecroppers. In the vestibule, he pointed to a picture of a Mrs. Eldridge whose husband purportedly dug the grave for Johnson.
Mr. Hoover also gives tours through
his company, "Delta Blues Legend Tours" and offered to show us Baptist Town, where Robert Johnson lived.