Sun Ra

May 22, 1914 – May 30, 1993

 Le Sony’r Ra (born Herman Blount) was an avant-garde jazz musician, composer, artist, poet and bandleader who came up through the Chicago Jazz scene of the 1940s. He fronted the cosmic and experimental music collective, The Arkestra, for nearly 4 decades. He often shortened his stage name to simply “Sun Ra” and held a deep connection to the Egyptian god of the sun. In addition to music, he dabbled in philosophy (though he rejected the term, claiming philosophy was based on “theory” and his thoughts were based on “logic”).

He also may have been an alien.

Sun Ra often told of a trip he took to the planet Saturn as a young man. He routinely claimed to be on a mission from Saturn to bring peace to the world. He was an early pioneer of the Afrofuturism movement that sprung up in the 1990’s around the time he died due to compounding health issues at the age of 79. Though never commercially prominent, Sun Ra had a devoted following. He influenced many musicians and writers throughout his life and beyond.  As a fun sidenote, his creations such as the “Myth Science Arkestra”  and “Rocket Number Nine” directly influenced some of the naming conventions for the cult television hit Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Ra’s Arkestra still performs to this day.


Elmwood Cemetery – Birmingham, AL

Specific Location

Block 25; Grab a map, locate Block 25, toward the corner of the section that’s closest to Block 47, find the marker with GRAPHOS on it and a marker with CHRISTU a few rows beyond it to the right. Sun is buried in front of this CHRISTU marker.


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