Historic SouthView Cemetery Celebrates 120 Years of Caring for African-American; Charter Day Ceremony to celebrate Atlanta's Black Leaders Who are Interred Here

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South-View Cemetery (Atlanta) , one of the oldest African American business in the country, is the resting place for many generations of Black Atlantans. Now 120 years old, the families of those buried here gather on South-View's Charter Day to pour libations and release balloons in tribute to their legacy. The Martin LUther King family, the Alonzo Herndon Family, Grandparents of the Late Maynard Jackson; to name a few.

One of the oldest African American business organizations in the country, Atlanta’s South-View Cemetery, will celebrate 120 years of service to this city and the African American community. This major milestone will be celebrated with a fitting CHARTER DAY AT SOUTH-VIEW tribute to the legacy of South-View and those who rest here Sunday, April 23, 2006 at 2:30 p.m.

The celebration will be highlighted by the announcement of the formation of the new Historic South-View Preservation Foundation, Inc., a non-profit, tax exempt corporation that will operate exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. The Foundation will promote and support the historical preservation of the non-perpetual care sections of South-View Cemetery (Historic South-View). It will record, interpret, restore and preserve the art, history and environment of Historic South-View as well as educate the public on the value and historic significance of the site and those interred here.

CHARTER DAY AT SOUTH-VIEW will focus on the legacy of this historic place and also provide an opportunity to engage the support of the greater Atlanta community in carrying out the mission of the new Historic South-View Preservation Foundation, Inc. Volunteers are needed to complete the list of prominent persons buried at South-View, and funds are need to support educational and community programs. Activities to be included at Charter Day event will feature special presentations from family members in tribute to their respective family members who are buried at South-View. Christine King Farris, daughter of Reverend and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Sr.; former Mayor and Ambassador Andrew Young; June Dobbs Butts and other family members of the late John Wesley Dobbs; Norris Conley, cousin of the late Alonzo Herndon; and many others are expected to release balloons in respect and homage to their family members.

South-View Cemetery was founded in February, 1886, by nine Black businessmen including Jacob McKinley, George W. Graham, Robert Grant, Charles H. Morgan, John Render and Albert Watts who then petitioned the State of Georgia for a charter to establish a cemetery where people could be buried with dignity, without regard for race.    Over 70,000 African Americans – many of whom have made significant contributions to American history and the struggle for freedom and equality – are buried at South-View.

Winifred Watts Hemphill, President of South-View Cemetery and great-grand daughter of one of the cemetery founders, Albert Watts, stated, “This tribute to South-View and the service this historic place has provided over the years is long over due. We are appreciative of the efforts of our friends and the Board of Directors of this new organization that will better tell the South-View story and effectively preserve its legacy.” The Historic South-View Preservation Foundation, Inc. is chaired by William W. Allison, whose grandfather, William H. Whitaker, was a past cemetery board member and is buried in Historic South-View along with many of Allison’s family members. Allison, a retired Coca-Cola Company executive said he is elated about the work of the new Foundation. “This is an important opportunity -- not only for those of us who have strong ties -- but also for the larger community to help preserve and educate. There is so much forgotten history here and our challenge is to find a way to open the gates of this cemetery for the larger community to come in and explore this legacy,” Allison said.”

Richard Byrd, another member of the Foundation Board with generations of ancestors interred at Historic South-View recounts, “Blacks had grown tired of the disrespect they were forced to endure in order to bury their family members and friends. They had to enter cemeteries through back gates, and even wade through swamps to conduct funeral services. They were told ‘If you don’t’ like it, start your own cemetery.’ So they did,” said Byrd.

South-View Cemetery is located fifteen minutes south of downtown Atlanta at 1990 Jonesboro Road, SE (30315). The Historic South-View Preservation Foundation invites those who have family members buried at South-View to come out and release a balloon to celebrate their family legacy.

Some Notable Atlantans Buried at Historic South-View Cemetery

  •     Alonzo F. Herndon; businessman, founder of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, reputed to be the richest Black in America during the 40’s and 50’s. (buried 1927) and his wife,

Adrienne Herndon; actress and architect (buried 1910)

  •     Norris B. Herndon; Son of Alonzo Herndon and president of Atlanta Life Insurance Company (buried 1977)
  •     Clayton R. Yates; co-owner and manager of Yates & Milton Drugstore -- on the corner of Auburn and Butler Streets -- and instrumental in many organizations in Atlanta, including Citizens Trust Bank, the Butler Street YMCA and the Fulton-Dekalb Hospital Authority (buried 1977)
  •     Bishop Henry McNeal Turner; A.M.E. Bishop and political organizer (buried 1915)
  •     Rev. and Mrs. Martin Luther King Sr.; pastor and first lady of Ebenezer Baptist Church and parents of civil rights icon Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (Rev King buried in 1984 and Mrs. King buried in 1974)
  •     Carrie Cunningham; businesswoman, owner of the famous Royal Peacock Lounge, the Royal Hotel, and the 81 Theater. (buried 12-24-29)
  •     Bishop William Fountain; Morris Brown College promoter and AME Bishop until 1948 (buried 4-13-1953)
  •     Bishop W. E. Fuller, Sr.; Founder of the Fire Baptized Holiness Church of God of the Americas in 1942 (buried 1-28-1953)
  •     William Crogman; educator, author, and (first Black) past president of what is now Clark Atlanta University (buried 10-31-1931)
  •     David T. Howard; born in slavery 1849, entrepreneur, undertaker and philanthropist (buried 1-11-1935)
  •     Professor C. L. Harper; first principal of Booker T. Washington High School when it opened in 1924 and past President of the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP.

     (buried 6-25-1955)

  •     Samuel Archer; fifth President of Morehouse College from 1931 - 1937
  •     Moses Amos; the first black pharmacist licensed in Georgia.
  •     Jean Young; wife of former mayor and Ambassador Andrew Young
  •     John Wesley Dobbs; Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons of Georgia; often referred to as the Mayor of Auburn Avenue. Grandfather of Mayor Maynard Jackson (buried in 1961)

Note to Press:

Please contact First Class, Inc. for interviews and photographs

We have many “historic” photos of some of the notable black citizens who are buried at South-View.

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