Mt. Zion African American Burial Ground in Kingston

Lovingly Hand Carved

By Rebecca Martin

For years, I have been curious about an old and seemingly abandoned graveyard at the top of a ridge between Wilbur Avenue and South Wall Street.  Today, I had the chance to visit the site.

It is one of two African American Burial Grounds in the city of Kingston (the other is on Pine Street in Midtown) and it felt eerily forgotten.  The stones were in some sort of order at the entrance with American flags placed by those who were veterens of war. But as you moved deeper into the forest, the grave stones were strewn about, perhaps evidence of vandalism that took place some 90 years ago.

Today, very little is known of either site and very little is done to keep them in honorable condition (and in the case of Pine Street, there is a home built on top of it). I had the opportunity to speak to Kingston’s historian (at 93!)  Ed Ford this afternoon about them, and I will return to South Wall with him in August to get an in-depth history.

It is only right that more is done to protect these sites.

Calvin Synder "Horseshoer"
Lloyd Jones of Georgia

8 thoughts on “Mt. Zion African American Burial Ground in Kingston”

  1. Sounds like a documentary to me……nice project for one of the local schools studying journalism, documentary filmmaking, history, and restoration or all of the above.

  2. Carole,

    We are touring the site on Tuesday, August 11th with city of Kingston Historian Ed Ford. The tour will begin at 2pm where we will all have the opportunity to learn of it’s history in depth. Afterwards, the group will proceed to the other African-American cemetary on Pine Street (where there is currently a house built). Please join us. If you have any questions, you can contact me at


    Rebecca Martin

  3. Thank you so much for your efforts towards this particular African Burial Ground. I became familiar with this cemetery only five months ago as a native Kingston resident and had similar emotional responses during my first of many visits. After some personal research, I discovered that many Kingston residents of today are the descendants of those buried at this particular site and majority are unaware of this deep connection. Since there are many readable old stones that still stand, I believe there is a great necessity to revitalize this African Burial Ground before Kingston loses such a beautiful, historical site.
    P.S. For those that did not notice, the walkway to cemetery is absolutely breath-taking as the tree branches curve and intertwine each other
    Thank you so much for this Rebecca


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