Established around 1903 when the City needed to extend what is now known as Liberty Street and needed to provide a place of re-interment of African-American graves that stood in the way (actually the graves were on the outside wall of the Old English Cemetery). It is located at 1516 Old Wilkesboro Road and consists of 16.75 acres. The Kelsey family gave the cemetery to the City in 1995 to maintain but it was closed for unreserved burials. Families who own plots there can be buried by the funeral homes, but the City does not have any part of performing the burials.
While the site of the current Oakdale/Union Hill cemetery is believed to have been used as a burial ground as far back as the late 1700's, the property was not officially deeded as a cemetery until October of 1903. Research into funeral home records and state death certificates, as well as local historical society documents, have placed the number of burials in this location at well over 2,000, though only a small number of those buried here have markers to identify their graves. Addtional research is being conducted in the hopes of identifying the exact locations of as many of the graves as possible and the identities of those still unknown, including a number of bodies that were re-interred here from an older cemetery between 1904-1910 to make way for road expansions in the downtown area.
b. June 3, 1919 d. January 6, 1989
Educator. She was a teacher for 30 years, before becoming the first African American woman to head the Bureau of North Carolina Teachers Association. During the presidential Administration of Richard M. Nixon, she was the highest ranking black woman, heading the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor and served as a delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 1970. A champion on the rights of minority women, she also fought for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and served as assistant superintendent for the Department of Public Instruction before retiring in 1982.
Cause of death: Heart attack