The Mississippi John Hurt Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and its Board Members work diligently to help advance the Foundation's mission of preserving the musical legacy of Mississippi John Hurt.

Mary Frances Hurt, Founder, CEO and President - Mary Frances Hurt, an educator and career teacher, is the granddaughter of Mississippi John Hurt, and she has dedicated her energy and resources to preserving the musical legacy of her grandfather. In addition to creating the Mississippi John Hurt Foundation, Mary relocated John Hurt's home to Foundation property in Avalon, Mississippi, and converted it into a museum. She also relocated the St. James Church to Foundation property. The church has been a mecca for African American families in Carroll County since the 1800s and Mary plans to use it as a schoolhouse for early blues music and history. Teaching her grandfather's musical legacy is one of Mary's primary goals. Additionally, Mary curates and hosts the Homecoming Festival, an annual event in Avalon, for fans of her grandfather's music, and looks forward to greeting old and new friends each year.

Valerie Turner, Co-President - Valerie Turner is a former Systems Analyst and Software Engineer. These days, she is a tradition bearer of early blues music and is the guitar-playing half of the Piedmont Blūz Acoustic Duo. Mentored by John Cephas, a great Country Blues musician from Washington D.C., Valerie is the author of Piedmont Style Country Blues Guitar Basics, a book that teaches guitar players the fingerpicking style of Mississippi John Hurt. Having been greatly influenced by Hurt's music, Valerie is delighted to be part of the Foundation. In addition to working on special projects, she is the Foundation's current webmaster and helps with fundraising and its social media presence.

Andy Cohen, Vice President - Andy Cohen is an Anthropologist and virtuoso finger-style guitarist. Many consider him a musicologist because of his lifelong passion for playing music. In addition to performing and teaching, Andy is a festival organizer and the CEO of Riverlark Music, a CD and book publishing company based in Tennessee. Andy has been a good friend to the Mississippi John Hurt Foundation since its inception, and his music background, experience, and unique skill set add great value to the Foundation. Learn more about Andy here.

Benedict Turner, Creative Director - Benedict Turner is a Sr. Art Director/Graphic Designer specializing in Marketing, Advertising, and Visual Arts. Over the years, he has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies on ad campaigns, corporate identity, sports branding, and magazine publications. Benedict uses these skills to help promote the Mississippi John Hurt Foundation by creating posters, advertisements, and website graphics. Influenced by Washboard Chaz of Louisiana fame, as well as Newman Taylor Baker of the Ebony Hillbillies, Benedict is a percussionist specializing in washboard and bones. He is one half of the Piedmont Blūz Acoustic Duo.

Paul West, Board Member - Paul West, a graduate of Auburn University, has been practicing Geology in Environmental Consulting for 19 years and is licensed in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. As an Eagle Scout, Paul continues to volunteer in Boy Scout activities. He is a past President of his Rotary Club and currently serves as an Assistant Governor for Rotary International in his District. Paul volunteers at a community radio station as the host of the WDVX Grateful Shuffle radio show, which often features the music of Mississippi John Hurt. Paul co-produced the documentary film, A Man Called Hurt: The Life and Music of Mississippi John Hurt and coordinates its distribution.

Floyd Bailey, Treasurer - Floyd Bailey, a local businessman in Avalon, is one of the founding members of the Mississippi John Hurt Foundation. In addition to being Treasurer, Mr. Bailey was the curator of the Mississippi John Hurt Museum until it burned down in 2024. He maintained the fragile historical structure in which collected and donated artifacts were displayed. Mr. Bailey also conducts tours of local sites related to Mississippi John Hurt, some of which would be difficult to find without a guide. Visit the Avalon page to learn more about Mr. Bailey, his tour, and how to reach him.