In 1983 blues musician and community activist Willie King started the Rural Members Association (RMA), a non-profit organization, to bring together the elders of the community in and around Old Memphis, Alabama, for the purpose of passing on the local heritage of traditional African American cultural arts and survival skills to the next generation. Over the years RMA projects have impacted thousands of children and adults through educational workshops in traditional crafts like sewing, quilting, carpentry, farming, canning, food preserving, blues music and gospel music, and the internationally renowned Freedom Creek Festival. The RMA started Freedom Creek Blues Festival in 1997 to bring all walks of life together once a year to celebrate the outstanding blues heritage in our region. This festival allows local musicians to display their musical talent alongside nationally and internationally renowned musicians, helping to keep the local music culture alive and introducing it in the depths of the Alabama black belt to an international audience. Since Willie King’s untimely passing on Sunday, March 8, 2009, the Freedom Creek Festival continues to be presented in his honor and spirit.