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She Wolf in need



We don't do this much, but Jessie May Hemphill may still have that gun. She's a tough broad. Also, not coincidentally, one of the five or so Delta blues singer/guitarists who is guaranteed to re-arrange your ass, brain, and heart on first listen. She's "important" because she influenced everyone from the Stones to Mr. Airplane Man, but she's vital because nobody can make the hairs stand on end like her early shit can. The following came from Phoenix contributor, blues scholar, and friend-of-Jessie Ted Drozdowski:

I'm passing along this information in hope that you can pass it along to interested parties, and/or perhaps make a small donation on your own. Nobody I, or the other people who have been trying to help Jessie Mae out with this situation, know has much money to spare right now, so we anticipate the funds will be rounded up in very small amounts. Anyway, here's the situation. The 501C3 which provided a trailer for stroke-handicapped Mississippi blueswoman Jessie Mae Hemphill has decided to evict her from it. I've been embroiled in a
series of phone calls with lawyers representing the 501C3, Jessie's friends, and many other people for the past several weeks, since receiving a panicked call from Jessie that she was being evicted.

After all this it's still not clear to me why this action is being taken against her, although it seems highly unusual. A consensus has been reached by Jessie's closest advocates that she needs to be relocated from Senatobia to Clarksdale, so she can be near people who can help take care of her. To that end there is an immediate need for as much as $1500 to move Jessie, her possessions and her storage shed to Clarksdale. She's already 12 days past her eviction date (which was given to her with an outrageous 10 days notice).

If you would like to contribute to this effort, please send a check for whatever amount you're comfortable with to: David Tollison, 2166 Stage Road, Senatobia, MS 38668. [OTD NOTE: THERE'S ALSO A WEBSITE WITH MORE INFO HERE.] The check should be made out to David Tollison. I have checked with several parties active in the effort to relocate Jessie, and they say David is trustworthy. I have also spoken with David and Jessie about this. He is a friend of Jessie's and built the wheelchair ramp to her trailer. He is a Senatobia-based contractor and has promised to keep careful records and be accountable for the money raised and spent.

If any funds are left after the move, they will be put in an account for Jessie. The long term goal, after this emergency has passed, will be to raise more funds for that account which will be used to take care of her utilities, health care and day-to-day living expenses. The consensus is that Jessie has difficulty managing her health, hygiene and finances, and it seems that David and Barbara Blue (a performer from Memphis and close friend of Jessie's who, along with Anna Lomax, brought lawyer Bruce Newman from Memphis into the matter on Jessie Mae's behalf) may end up with power of attorney for Jessie, with her blessing. Jessie's friend Blue Mike from Clarksdale and his wife, who is a nurse, have volunteered to help watch over her, too. Jessie Mae will have much more support in Clarksdale among these and other friends. As long as she can keep her things, have a place to live and keep her dog Jessie Mae seems happy with whatever the results of this episode may be. Trust that it's highly unusual for me to pass along something like this, and it won't be a regular thing. This is a special effort for a great, if not terribly well known, contributor to American musical history and African-American culture. When
this crisis is over, it appears that a number of Jessie Mae's friends and fans will be arranging benefit concerts around the country to raise cash for her long-term care.

thanks for your attention,
Ted Drozdowski
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