Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Africana Studies to Collaborate with Friends of Historical Cemetery

CHARLOTTE - June 30, 2010 - UNC Charlotte’s Africana Studies department will collaborate with The Friends of Old Westview Cemetery, Inc. to develop a long-range plan to help restore the more than 150 year old cemetery in Wadesboro.

Since the passing of the cemetery’s caretaker in the 1960s, the cemetery has become overgrown and neglected, according to friends of the cemetery.

Participating in the Martin Luther King Day of Service earlier this year, members of the Africana Studies Club, a student organization at the University, led a project which involved cleaning and documenting grave markers. The collaboration grew out of the service project and was recently announced during a Friends of Old Westview Cemetery board of directors meeting.

Old Westview Cemetery was founded in the mid-19th century and has served as the primary burial ground for Wadesboro’s African-American community.

UNC Charlotte Many citizens who contributed to Wadesboro’s post-emancipation African-American community are buried in Old Westview. The cemetery is currently on the “Study List” of historical places and is eligible for placement on the National Register.
UNC Charlotte faculty and students 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 Old Westview. Chair of Africana Studies department Akin Ogundiran and Africana Studies graduate student India Solomon will coordinate the project for the University.

“We would like people from all the surrounding areas to not only be aware of the cemetery in Wadesboro but also similar cemeteries in their own areas,” said Ogundiran. “We would like to encourage a widespread effort to preserve these cemeteries for public education and to document the stories of the people who helped shape our lives today.”

For more information, contact Ogundiran at 704.687.2355. ###

Public Relations media contact, Buffie Stephens, 704.687.5830,

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