Several miles south of Kilmichael, Mississippi, located in Montgomery County, is a church with a long history of supporting education, and one of the students who benefited from the church's commitment to education is today one of the best known musicians in the world.
Elkhorn Primitive Baptist Church (left) was founded by Syrus Bogan Henson (1835-1910), a former slave. Born on a plantation in North Carolina, Syrus Henson was “given” as a wedding gift to the Flowers family. After the Civil War, the Flowers moved to Mississippi and paid Henson to move the family’s belongings. With that money, Henson purchased land near Kilmichael, where the Flowers also settled. A minister as well as a farmer, Syrus Henson began preaching under a brush arbor to members of his family and others in the community. After establishing the church, Henson served as the first pastor. Syrus and his wife Fannie had twenty-three children. The twenty-second child, born in 1899, was a son named Luther Heron (just imagine having twenty-one older brothers and sisters!).
Luther Henson, who followed in the footsteps of his father in support of the Elkhorn Primitive Baptist Church and the Elkhorn School, died in 2001 at the age of 101. He is buried in the Elkhorn Cemetery along with his father and many other members of this remarkable family. B.B. King's mother and grandmother are buried in nearby Kilmichael, and King (left) returns to the area often to pay homage to his days in Kilmichael and at Elkhorn.