The Friends of Old Westview Cemetery and the Africana Studies Department at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte is entering a memorandum of understanding to finalize their partnership, which will develop goals and plans towards the restoration of the Old Westview Cemetery in Wadesboro, N.C.
At 150 years old, the all-Black burial ground is a rich repository of Black history.
On Sept. 10, Friends of Old Westview Cemetery President Rose Sturdivant Young and Board Director Miretta Briley joined UNC professor Akinwumi Ogundiran, associate professor of communication studies Christine S. Davis and 23 Africana Studies students in a visit to the cemetery.
The students expressed astonishment to see graves dating back to the late 1800s and were eagerly taken notes and photos. They noted headstones with the names of war veterans and Wadesboro professionals, who were instrumental in the growth and development of Wadesboro and Anson County. Young also pointed out possible slave burial sites in the cemetery and how the graves were marked years ago to identify them.
Under the partnership – which grew out of a service project on Martin Luther King Day – the Africana Studies Department at UNC Charlotte will conduct research on the historical significance of the all-Black cemetery and develop public educational programs on the history of Wadesboro and the biographies of those buried in the cemetery.
Concurrently, the university’s Communications Department immediately will embark on a special project, in which they will interview individuals that have loved ones buried in the cemetery and record their stories.
The effort is part of Friends of Old Westview Cemetery’s reason for being. The non-profit organization was founded in 2002 to revitalize the cemetery, which had fallen into disrepair.
Young express optimism that “with the concerted efforts of Friends of Old Westview, the Wadesboro community and the African Studies Department at UNCC, we hope to restore Old Westview and have it deemed a historical site.” The cemetery is currently on the “Study List” of historical places and is eligible for placement on the National Register of Historical Places.
If you would like to provide the history on your loved one and their contribution to Wadesboro and Anson County, please call Friends of Westview Cemetery at 202-832-2483 and leave your name and number.