New open-air museum opens at historic Southport African American Cemetery

SOUTHPORT, NC (WECT) – A ribbon cut will be held for a new interpretive outdoor museum at the historic John N. Smith Cemetery on Saturday, October 16 at 10 a.m.

The open-air museum will celebrate the history and contributions of the Black community in Southport and the surrounding area.

According to a press release, the cemetery is a burial place for nearly 2,000 African Americans who represent a vital part of the collective cultural history of the Cape Fear River region.

Founded in 1880, the cemetery is the burial site of more than 1,725 ​​African Americans, including slaves, farmers, teachers, business owners, workers in the fishing industry, housewives and veterans dating from the Civil War to later military campaigns.

A group of volunteers worked on the restoration of the cemetery and new signage, safer walkways, exhibits and improvements make the site more attractive as a community asset to encourage civic engagement.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the Orton Foundation provided grants for the open-air museum and renovations.

Click here for more information on the cemetery which is located at 225 E. Leonard Street, Southport, across from Lowe White Park.

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About Carlos V. Mitchell

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