(MARKS, MS) — After numerous attempts over the past 50-plus years to build a Hall of Fame for R&B icons such as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, and many others, it is finally going to happen. A permanent brick-and-mortar state-of-the-art world-class complex housing the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame (NRBHF) will be built in Marks, MS. The NRBHF was founded in 2010 and since 2013, it has inducted over 200 world-renowned artists.
The City of Marks-Quitman County has donated five (of a possible 30) acres of land known as Industrial Park and $500,000 from a state grant to jump-start this one-of-a-kind international tourist attraction. The NRBHF has brought in a few partners to assist with funding and is currently conducting a GOFUNDME campaign to help complete this project. The NRBHF’s Ground-Breaking Ceremony will kick off the Annual Mules & Blues Fest on Friday, September 30, 2022.
The NRBHF’s Founder/CEO LaMont Robinson was able to comment on this historic undertaking:
"I have been a long-time activist and advocate for preserving the history of rhythm and blues music and its legends. There is no other hall of fame in the world that is primarily focused and dedicated to the history of R&B music on a national scale. This project won't just be made up of showcases and photographs on the wall like you would find in a typical hall of fame or museum, but it will be highly interactive, virtual reality, with holograms. My vision to build a hall of fame to honor R&B and its contributions to civil rights, America, and the entire world is something that I don't take lightly. R&B goes hand and hand with the Civil Rights Movement, and one of the reasons for choosing Marks is the role that it played in Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘Poor People’s Campaign (PPC)."
“The Quitman County stakeholders are to be commended for their hard work in coming together in solidarity to have Marks/Quitman, Mississippi selected as “the home” for the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame will be the catalyst to Delta tourism growth and opportunities, and a means to attract business and industry. I am grateful to the founder and CEO LaMont Robinson and his board for having the vision to select Quitman County, which will be the “official home” of the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame” says Congressman Bennie Thompson”.
Mayor Joe Shegog of the City of Marks stated:
“I’m very grateful to have Mr. Robinson come to Quitman County to bring the NRBHOF, which will be a tribute to all the music legends that hailed from the Delta. He sees this project as bringing awareness to our musical roots and heritage and a means to create opportunities within our community.”
Velma Benson-Wilson, Quitman County’s Economic and Tourism Director, mentioned that this project's other important aspects are bringing jobs and providing an economic boost for Marks-Quitman County and the State of Mississippi. Wilson is also working on meeting with elected officials to present a bill for Capitol Hill that would be in honor of rhythm and blues artists from the “Segregation and Jim Crow era”, and having a day named "Rhythm & Blues Artists’ Day", to be celebrated every August 17th.
Many National R&B Hall of Fame inductees, such as Marshall Thompson of The Chi-Lites, Blues legend Bobby Rush and Dionne Warwick were excited to have this project come to fruition finally. Miss Warwick, who was inducted in 2019 had this to say:
"First, let me say that I am honored to be included amongst the incredibly talented artists that hold the distinction of being inducted into the National Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame. It goes without saying, that the importance of this hall of fame being established gives recognition to the bodies of music that we as artists have been able to share with many who have and continue to support our careers."
For more information, visit the website: https://rbhalloffamemarksms.com/
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