New outdoor museum to open at historic African-American cemetery in Southport

SOUTHPORT, N.C. (WECT) – A ribbon-cutting will be held for a new outdoor interpretive museum at the historic John N. Smith cemetery Saturday, October 16, at 10 a.m.

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

According to a news release the cemetery is a burial site for close to 2,000 African-Americans who represent an essential element of the Cape Fear River region’s collective cultural history.

Established in 1880, the cemetery is the burial site for more than 1725 African-Americans, including slaves, farmers, teachers, business owners, fishing industry workers, homemakers and veterans dating from the Civil War through subsequent military campaigns.

A group of volunteers worked at restoring the cemetery and new signage, safer walkways, displays, and enhancements make the site more attractive as a community asset to encourage civic engagement.

Grant support for the outdoor museum and renovations was provided by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the Orton Foundation.

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

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