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The blues ain't nothin' but a good woman on your mind - Mississippi John Hurt, See See Rider

Author Topic: We all have work to do  (Read 1487 times)

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Offline jed

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We all have work to do
« on: February 22, 2024, 12:42:50 AM »
Some of y'all know that my work since 2017 has been in the wacky world of political organizing and activism - seven years this month.  In September and October 2016 - just before all hell broke loose, it was my great good fortune to do some Blues Travelin' with the Chezz across the length and much of the breadth of the Mississippi Delta, compiling a list of experiences and memories - to borrow from Howlin' Wolf - longer than my right arm.  One of our coolest experiences was visiting the backwoods location Mary Hurt had designated for Grandpa John Hurt's museum. 

The museum is no more.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3odJ3WNVTJ/?igsh=NGdnZzB3aDlzYTNx

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/fire-destroys-mississippi-john-hurt-museum/ar-BB1iFEj1

https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2024/02/21/mississippi-john-hurt-museum-burns-down-in-carroll-county-mississippi/72689068007/

Ms. Hurt had expressed related concerns about her grandfather's Blues Highway sign (which reminded me of the fate of several versions of Emmett Till's sign). 

Please share this news widely.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2024, 11:50:54 AM by banjochris »
ok then:  http://jed.net

Offline lindy

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Re: We all have work to do
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2024, 11:49:22 AM »
Wow.

I'm one of several Weenies who have had the experience of sitting on the porch of the house and playing a tune ("Frankie"). Then soaking up the peacefulness of the wooded surroundings, befitting the image of John Hurt I've constructed based on film footage and interviews.

If indeed it was an act of arson and by some chance the arsonists are caught, I hope their sentences include watching that same footage and listening to all of Hurt's recordings.

Lindy



Offline jed

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Re: We all have work to do
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2024, 03:47:33 PM »
One must wonder whether some of the red-shirted nazis with flags in Nashville last week took that rented U-Haul truck down to Mississippi.

ok then:  http://jed.net

Offline Vermonter

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Re: We all have work to do
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2024, 08:51:39 AM »
So far there is no report that this tragic fire was caused by arson. Does anybody know anything more?
So much that was irreplaceable is lost.

Offline lindy

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Re: We all have work to do
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2024, 04:49:41 PM »
*If* the local investigators show an interest in the case, and *if* someone informs the Jackson-based Clarion-Ledger newspaper about any updates, we might hear some new information.

I did a search using the terms "Mary Hurt" and "Mississippi John Hurt" and got several hits for stories posted within the past 3-4 days, but they don't really add anything to what was posted earlier.

https://www.npr.org/2024/02/22/1233089909/museum-honoring-mississippi-bluesman-john-hurt-is-destroyed-in-a-fire

and

https://www.msn.com/en-us/music/news/fire-destroys-museum-honoring-legendary-blues-musician-mississippi-john-hurt/ar-BB1iMXq2

I noticed that the npr report stated that Mary Hurt lives in Illinois, had not seen the damage yet when she was interviewed, yet she "believes it may have been arson." The history of Mississippi makes me immediately consider a similar conclusion, but the former news reporter in me says the evidence so far is slim, and that my biases are in operation.

Lindy
« Last Edit: February 27, 2024, 10:07:09 AM by lindy »

Offline Stuart

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Re: We all have work to do
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2024, 10:03:16 AM »
Thanks for the post, Lindy and for the additional links. Like you, I'm going to wait until the experts finish their investigation (if there is one), before I draw any conclusions.

One way or another, it's a tragic loss with many of the items being irreplaceable.

« Last Edit: February 27, 2024, 10:23:16 AM by Stuart »

Offline eric

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Re: We all have work to do
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2024, 10:53:59 AM »
Exactly, Stuart.
--
Eric

Offline jed

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Re: We all have work to do
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2024, 12:57:59 PM »
While Mississippi is still a rough state for African American life, we've seen progress in elections there since 2018 - they finally brought their voter rolls back to life and each time, our guys get closer to winning.  In 2022, two of our national voter registration and GOTV groups saw fit to help promote Mississippi elections.  That's helping.  But still, these flares keep coming from the dying Confederacy - whose wealthiest members continue to pursue research initiatives (e.g., polls, focus groups) to inform their continuing efforts to maximize division in the population, increasing their own fortunes. 

The museum's historic landmark designation - received literally hours before the destruction - triggered investigation by state and federal entities - MS Fire Marshal, MS Bureau of Investigation and DOJ's Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, as well as the FBI.  Those will take time; given the ashen nature of the remains, hope for evidence is more prayer than anything - but I still remember being surprised by what I learned from my very first FBI comic book (which I hope is still somewhere - may have the original dust), so they may yet be able to finger the perps.

Mary Hurt is welcoming any and all ideas for rebuilding; she summoned the energy to post a GoFundMe, which should help provide resources to rebuild and, with luck and good ideas, will provide a broadly-promoted destination to bask in and spread the love that emanates from John Hurt's music.  In the meantime, her Foundation Facebook page is pretty active; she could use a boost from supporters.

GFM:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/mississippi-john-hurts-legacy-will-rise
ok then:  http://jed.net

Offline lindy

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Re: We all have work to do
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2024, 05:10:02 PM »
Great, thanks for the clarifying information, Jed, especially the news that investigative agencies are showing some interest. I also went to the Foundation facebook page and read Mary's description of receiving anonymous threats by phone. The progress you mentioned is not uniform throughout rural Mississippi.

L

Offline jed

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Re: We all have work to do
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2024, 05:39:18 PM »
That's why we keep trying to elect good people there.  I figure we'll start tipping the scales in 2026-2028.  While the Confederacy will ultimately die a natural death, we have to continue infusing the landscape with positive work while bringing the legislature to heel, which is a longtime project not yet begun in earnest.

There's a lot of history that Mary Hurt provides in her posts and comments on the FB page.  I'd lay odds that MS-based racists don't use burner phones.  Where did you see the comment about threatening phone calls?
ok then:  http://jed.net

Offline lindy

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Re: We all have work to do
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2024, 06:13:13 PM »
This paragraph is from the second post by Mary Hurt on the Foundation facebook page:

"Over the past several years, the historic St. James Cemetery where John Hurt is buried was illegally sold, renamed, and desecrated. A marker to honor John Hurt, erected by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History at the intersection of Highway 7 and County Road 204, was knocked down and then mysteriously disappeared. I have received numerous death threats - including a warning that my home would be burnt with me in it. And now this! Mississippi John Hurt is not welcome in Carroll County, Mississippi. As the most famous resident to emerge from this otherwise unremarkable town, it is shameful that he is not celebrated there."

Please forgive my mind for filling in the words "by phone" to the sentence about death threats.

Lindy

Offline jed

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Re: We all have work to do
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2024, 09:34:58 PM »
Thanks; the cemetery land has a long and winding history of appropriation and legal wrangling.  I hope she timely reported all the hate crimes both to police and the locality's prevailing state legislators.  The rebuilding should include thorough AV monitoring. 
ok then:  http://jed.net

Offline jed

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Re: We all have work to do
« Reply #12 on: February 29, 2024, 01:49:09 AM »
Word is getting out.  Elijah just donated, and some guy named Derek just became the top contributor.
ok then:  http://jed.net

Offline jostber

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Re: We all have work to do
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2024, 01:34:25 AM »
My donation has been done today as well. Hope and support for the Foundation to get back to having a museum and a marker.

Offline lindy

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Re: We all have work to do
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2024, 08:46:44 PM »
This story is two weeks old, but I just now saw it. The first few paragraphs are new information for me, the rest is a review of old info regarding the museum fire:

https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2024/03/04/mississippi-john-hurt-museum-fire-and-old-valley-store-vandalism/72843525007/

Lindy

 


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