This project was initiated by "invisible Memphians" who asked Robert Gordon to work with DeWayne Moore, of the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund, and design an appropriate headstone to mark the grave of Frank Stokes. Moore conducted research on the life and music career of Stokes, and he consulted with the veteran blues scholars of the Real Blues Forum, specifically Bob Eagle and Alex van der Tuk, who helped discern the earliest document that contained the birthdate of Stokes. Moore also worked with the fine folks at New Park Cemetery--Julie Levy and Hal Mandelmann--to design and install the headstone of Frank Stokes. New Park Cemetery also offered its expertise in resetting the large, thick upright headstone of Furry Lewis - TDM June 2016
Frank Stokes with a Martin 00-28 guitar - Hooks Brothers Photography in Memphis possessed the glass plate negative until the 1990s, when it was first offered for sale. Richard Hite looked through them first at the Hooks Brothers Archives, but John Montague bought the collection and kept it in the Memphis Blues Museum for a decade. Montague tried to sell the entire collection for over a hundred thousand dollars to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, which simply lacked the funds. Steve Lavere bought the Hooks Brothers negatives, and his family is currently in possession of the historic glass plates.