2005 List

African-American Cemeteries

Endangered List: Back To Main Page
City/County/Congressional District: Arkansas State Little RockNorth Little RockSherwood , Faulkner County Pulaski County ( District 2 )
Location Class: Cemetery
Year Built: N/A
Historic Designation: N/A
Status: Endangered

Representative of African-American cemeteries across the state, the Ida Bell Cemetery in Palarm, Faulkner County; Union Cemetery in Sherwood; Hickman Memorial Cemetery in North Little Rock; and the Haven of Rest and Union Cemeteries in Little Rock, are facing threats from a variety of sources. These cemeteries, which are believed to have been established over a period of time from the 1860s to the 1930s, represent an important part of Arkansas’ African-American history. In addition, Haven of Rest Cemetery, which is the final resting place of notable African Americans such as Lena Jordan, attorney Scipio A. Jones, and Daisy Bates, has importance beyond Arkansas’s borders. The threats to these cemeteries are quite varied. The Hickman Memorial Cemetery is threatened by commercial development while the Ida Bell and the Union Cemetery in Sherwood is both threatened by encroaching residential development. The Union Cemetery in Little Rock is also threatened by development, but the nomination states that it was also “in grave danger because the property was being destroyed by three-wheelers, vandals and littering and due to poor drainage.” With respect to Haven of Rest Cemetery, however, the  nomination states that “funding through the Arkansas Cemetery Board and the troubled cemetery fund will be depleted sometime in the year 2005.”

Although strides have been made to bring recognition to these cemeteries through the efforts of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society and other organizations, there is much to be done. More work needs to be done to identify and document African-American cemeteries across the state, and educate the general public about the need to protect these important resources.