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

Rowan County, North Carolina: Images from Oakdale-Union Hill Cemetery, Salisbury

Photos: Nadia K. Orton, November 10, 2015. All rights reserved.

Main entrance
J. E. K. Aggrey (1875-1927)
“Born in West Africa’s Gold Coast (now Ghana), James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey enrolled at Livingstone College in 1898 & later joined the faculty. In 1920 he returned to Africa where he influenced the course of post-colonialism. In 1905 Aggrey married Rose Douglass, teacher long active across the state in groups advocating education, social welfare, & racial harmony.”
Source: Historical marker, North Carolina Office of Archives and History, 2004

Chowan County, North Carolina: Images from Vine Oak Cemetery

Photos: Nadia K. Orton, January 19, 2013-April, 2014. Also added to FindaGrave. All rights reserved. For more information on United States Colored Troops: see Memorials to United States Colored Troops, Pt. 4 – Chowan County, North Carolina.

1st Sgt. Haywood B. Pettigrew (1845-1927), Company B, 2nd Regiment, U. S. Colored Cavalry. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, January 19, 2013. All rights reserved.