Milford Graves Memorial Fund

In loving memory of Professor Milford Graves, his family, friends and colleagues are creating a memorial fund that will allow his legacy to grow. Throughout the years, Professor Graves carefully cultivated his home, garden, and temple space, which are treasured by his community in Jamaica, Queens. The Milford Graves Memorial Fund will honor his wishes for the long term care of his estate and continue the community work that he valued so deeply. 

Professor Graves passed on February 12, 2021, from a rare heart condition. His music and spirit defined the sounds of free jazz, a musical style that became a symbol of Black empowerment. An herbalist, healer, martial artist and teacher, Professor Graves taught and inspired generations of students and was a beacon to a community of collaborators and peers. His work took him to the furthest reaches of the cosmos and deep into the body as he continued to research the heart and its interconnectedness with metaphysical forces into his later years.

The Closed Door Yara Temple Museum

One of Professor’s greatest wishes was to start a small museum in the Temple behind the house that he and his life partner, Lois Graves, adorned together over the years for their neighbors, friends, children, and grandchildren. It is the goal of Professor’s family and friends to complete this project in his honor by the end of 2022.

Surrounding the Closed Door Yara Temple is a lush garden, filled with varietals of flora from around the world as well as his assemblages and sculpture — a naturescape that feeds the body, mind, and spirit.

In addition to the creation of the Closed Door Yara Temple Museum and the ongoing care of its grounds, the Milford Graves Memorial Fund will contribute to the care and maintenance of his archive, and ongoing research and education activities based around his work and legacy — cared for by Mrs. Lois Graves. The house, which is ornate inside and out, encloses a lifetime of creative practice and requires ongoing attention and maintenance. His instruments, studio, and site-specific artwork he created in this space over the years will be maintained as a cultural landmark and treasure of his community.

The Fund will also contribute to the long-term care and storage of his artistic output throughout his long career. His sculptures have been exhibited at the Queens Museum, the ICA Philadelphia, and The Artist's Institute at Hunter College, and require conservation and special climate controlled storage as they continue to travel to exhibitions at museums and art institutions around the world.

Finally, the Memorial Fund will also contribute to bills and medical expenses from the care that Professor Graves was receiving before he passed. 

You can help sustain his legacy by contributing financially and also by spreading the word to those who can contribute to preserving the estate of Professor Milford Graves, allowing his ideas to reach future generations. 

Thank you for your support!

Learn more about the incredible life and legacy of Professor Graves:

—Milford Graves, Singular Drummer and Polymath, Dies at 79 - The New York Times 

—The patterns are already there: remembering Milford Graves - The Wire Magazine 

—How Milford Graves Reawakened the Spirit of the Drum - Rolling Stone 

—Some Plant Stuff, Man - HAOMA

Milford Graves: Full Mantis  - Music and words by Milford Graves, Directed by Jake Meginsky, Co-Directed by Neil Young; Available for streaming via Amazon Prime

Donations (237)

  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Antonina Hill
    • $20 
    • 2 mos
  • David Mellins
    • $500 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 6 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 1 yr

Fundraising team (4)

Renita Graves
Raised $18,653 from 17 donations
Jamaica, NY
Lois Graves
iliya fridman
Team member
Raised $1,040 from 3 donations
Tatiana Graves-Kochuthara
Team member
Raised $411 from 16 donations
This team raised $17,075 from 201 other donations.

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