This Week's Featured Marker:
On June 22 the 79th Mississippi Blues Trail marker was dedicated at Po’ Monkey’s juke joint, which is located in the middle of a field in Merigold. Earlier in the day another marker was unveiled in nearby Cleveland in honor of Chrisman Street, which was formerly the city’s African American “Main Street.” Due to stifling heat at the Chrisman Street unveiling, the arrangers decided that the majority of the dedication at Po’ Monkey’s would be held inside, and proprietor Willie “Po’ Monkey” Seaberry was glad to sell cold beverages to all who gathered at his colorfully decorated club. Unsurprisingly the unveiling had a laid-back character, and was preceded by a performance by the local soul-blues band the Pearl Street Jumpers.
During the ceremony Seaberry talked about the history of the venue during a Q&A session with Dr. Luther Brown of Delta State University’s Delta Center For Culture and Learning. Brown often arranges special shows at Po’ Monkey’s for groups of out-of-town visitors by downhome blues artists including Cadillac John Nolden and Bill Abel, who were both in attendance. Another speaker was the Mayor of Merigold, Andrew Westerfield, who recalled that he’d been visiting the club since he was a teenager in the mid-‘60s. The marker was unveiled just outside the club, and a number of people in attendance remarked about the likelihood the marker being stolen as a souvenir – a fate that’s befallen many official “Po’ Monkey Road” signs. Within a week that problem was addressed when Po’ Monkey’s good friend Larry Grimes, a folk artist and metalworker who lives near Parchman Penitentiary, erected a chain-linked fence topped with barbed-wire around the marker.
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