Recovering and Preserving African American Cemeteries – Preservation Leadership Forum, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Pinewood Cemetery COPYRIGHT Nadia Orton
Pine Forest Cemetery, Wilmington, North Carolina

The reverence attached to cemeteries and burial grounds, which have long been considered sacred sites, is an example of enduring Africanisms and cultural tradition in the African American community. Burial grounds have always been regarded as places where ancestors could be properly honored and provided with the dignity, care, and respect in death that had often been denied them in life.

Interest in the study of my family tree has led me to over a dozen cemeteries throughout Tidewater Virginia and North Carolina, and helped reconstruct a family legacy spanning over 400 years. Cemeteries offer an important, tangible connection to history allowing closer interpretation of days past than most other sources can. Genealogists and family historians have long recognized the benefit of cemeteries in the study of family history and an increasing popular interest in genealogy has led to an increased focus on them.  READ MORE

Suffolk, Virginia: Great American cleanup at Oak Lawn Cemetery (est. 1885)

This post originally appeared on the Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation

Courtesy the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The Great American cleanup at Oak Lawn Cemetery was a great success. We caught a break with the weather, and over fifty people contributed their time and energy to help preserve the grounds of the cemetery and the history it holds. The members of the Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation would like to thank Girl Scout Troop 313 (Suffolk, Virginia); Girl Scout Troop 725 (Suffolk, Virginia); Girl Scout Troop 5292 (Driver, Virginia); Princess J. Benn Coker, Worthy Matron, Nansemond Chapter 31, Order of the Eastern Star PHA; Larry Coker; Michela Brown-Mayfield and Christiana Green (Lakeland High School); Fred Greene; Francis McNair, Suffolk Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 5; Carlena Scott, Suffolk (VA) Chapter, Links, Incorporated; Vice-Mayor Leroy Bennett(Suffolk); Rev. Michael Frazier, East End Baptist Church; Mike Lane, Lane Environmental Consultants; Robin Barton; Tracey Tanner; Dennis E. Orton; S. McPherson; and Tyrone Hawkins. Also, special thanks to LeOtis Williams and team for grounds maintenance prior to our event, and all others who were there with us in spirit!