MDA unveils Fulton blues marker

FULTON – On a humid June day in 1902, Fulton gave birth to a music legend.
After more than a century, on a day much like that one, his hometown finally paid its respect.
The Mississippi Development Authority officially unveiled the Mississippi Blues Trail Marker on Saturday for world famous 1920s and 1930s swing band orchestra conductor Jimmie Lunceford in his hometown. A crowd of more than two dozen, including members of the Lunceford family, attended.
The double-sided marker placed downtown briefly recounts Lunceford’s life on one side and details his musical influence on the other. Fulton now joins other cities along the Mississippi Blues Trail, including Hattiesburg, Jackson, Aberdeen, New Albany and others.
Alex Thomas of the Mississippi Development Authority spoke of the importance of recognizing Mississippi’s great native sons and daughters.
Lunceford was born just northeast of Fulton. After attending college, he began teaching high school in Memphis, where he organized what would later become the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra.
By the 1930s, Lunceford’s band was considered by many to be the equal of Duke Ellington’s and Count Basie’s. He toured throughout the United States and Europe until his sudden death in 1947. He is buried in Memphis.
Lunceford’s marker is the first of two music markers planned for Itawamba County. The MDA plans to unveil a marker for country musician and Tremont native Tammy Wynette in August.
Contact Adam Armour at (662) 862-3141 or adam.armour@journalinc.com.

Adam Armour/Itawamba County Times