This past weekend, we held our October monthly meeting and learned about the freedmen community, called “Cemetery,” in Rutherford County. Established soon after the Civil War by former enslaved African Americans, the story of the Cemetery community is being actively preserved, shared, and disseminated through the efforts of descendants, historians, genealogists, and community members.
Our guest speaker was Dr. George C. Smith. Dr. Smith has been thoroughly engaged in these efforts and it was truly educational to here his discussion of the community’s significance. There are only a few remaining freedmen-established communities in the state of Tennessee so it is important for their stories to indeed be told.
An archive of materials related to Cemetery is available online via Middle Tennessee State’s Public History Program; visit the site to learn more. The African American Heritage Society of Rutherford County is very heavily engaged in helping to capture the story of the Cemetery community to follow them on Facebook or visit their website to stay abreast of project updates. You can also hear a presentation by community member Leonora Washington.