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BB King's Funeral in Mississippi Returns Him to the Hometown He Loved

Image: BB King's Funeral in Mississippi Returns Him to the Hometown He Loved
In this June 10, 2005 file photo, blues legend B.B. King shares the shade with his beloved guitar, Lucille, while waiting for the groundbreaking ceremonies to begin for the B.B. King Museum and Delta interpretive Center in Indianola, Mississippi. (AP Photo/Rogelio Solis)

By    |   Monday, 01 Jun 2015 03:36 PM

The Saturday funeral of blues singer B.B. King in Mississippi recalled the legendary life of a child born to dirt-poor sharecroppers.

“Hands that once picked cotton would someday pick guitar strings on a national and international stage. Amazing,” Rev. Herron Wilson told the crowd of 500 standing-room-only attendees at Bell Grove Missionary Baptist Church, according to The Associated Press.

And additional 200 people watched in the fellowship hall as the service was broadcasted.

King died May 14 in Las Vegas at the age of 89 and was returned to his hometown of Indianola, Mississippi, for his burial as per his request.

“He will forever be the king of the blues,” read a spoken tribute from Stevie Wonder, the AP noted.

The service began with King’s family walking past the open casket that had the padded white cloth inside the lid embroidered with his black electric guitar he named Lucille.

As he entered the church, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant recalled how King was a proud Mississippian.

“He would have loved to know that one more time he's helping the Mississippi Delta,” Bryant told the AP.

Tony Coleman, King’s drummer for 37 years, commented on his humility, noting how he never called himself the “King of Blues” as others had.

“He felt like the blues was the king, and it was his responsibility to keep it king,” Coleman said.

Democratic Mississippi U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, a friend of King, read aloud letters sent by President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton.

“The blues has lost its king and America has lost a legend,” Obama wrote. “No one worked harder than B.B. No one did more to spread the gospel of the blues.”

Following the funeral, King was buried at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center. The museum, built to share King’s story, will have a memorial garden around his final resting place.

“For a man coming out of the cotton field unlearned and you take his music and draw four corners of the world together — that is amazing,” Willie King, the blues guitarist’s son, told The Guardian.

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The Saturday funeral of blues singer B.B. King in Mississippi recalled the legendary life of a child born to dirt-poor sharecroppers.
bb king, funeral, mississippi, burial
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2015-36-01
Monday, 01 Jun 2015 03:36 PM
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