Maides Cemetery

Finding a Solution for Perpetual Care

Our region’s rural cemeteries & burial grounds for traditionally-marginalized people are in danger from development & neglect. 

That’s why the Historic Wilmington Foundation is dedicated to partnering with community advocate Kathy King in her efforts to preserve and protect Maides Cemetery, a historic African-American cemetery with graves dating back to the 19th century. Located near Wilmington’s Maides Park, the cemetery is on the former peanut farm of James and Matilda Maides.

Join us as we tend to this historic, hallowed ground.

Come out with your rakes, hedge shears, weed eaters, push mowers, chainsaws—whatever your preference, there’s much work to be done!

Please dress appropriately, with long pants, boots/high shoes, and gloves to protect against poison ivy, insects, and critters!


When: Saturday mornings (9AM-12PM) in June

Where: Maides Cemetery, located next to the baseball field at Maides Park (1101 Manly Avenue)

above: Kathy King displays a map of Maides Cemetery during this May’s clean-up event
photo credit: Historic Wilmington Foundation

Our first Maides Cemetery clean-up event made some progress, but it’s clear there’s far more work to be done to truly restore and honor this cemetery and those interred. Many thanks to those who came out and led the charge! As a team, we were able to cut down and haul away several trees that had fallen during Hurricane Florence, as well as make progress towards clearing the ground around the graves, both marked or unmarked. 

left: Kathy gave our volunteers a tour of the cemetery, including its rich history and her research
photo credit: Historic Wilmington Foundation
above: Gravestones within Maides Cemetery date back to the 19th century, and many feature African American funerary ornamentation. The glass inlay (pictured above) has been used to symbolize the “mirror image” of this life compared to the next.
photo credit: Historic Wilmington Foundation


Maides Cemetery is shaped like a triangle, and on the group clean-up on Saturday, June 5, community advocate Kathy King rediscovered one of the three corner markers!

Check out the video (right) of Kathy explaining the cemetery’s layout and the marker’s significance. To view the video in full screen, click on the button on the bottom right, to the left of “vimeo.”

We’re making real progress—join us on Saturday mornings during the month of June to pitch in!

below: Volunteer Rip Parks is a homeowner with a Historic Wilmington Foundation preservation easement. He came out decked in his Run Through History commemorative t-shirt and ready to work!
photo credit: Historic Wilmington Foundation

below: A volunteer tends to the grave of Ruth Aleace Brown (1915-1936), whose gravestone reads: “She was the sunshine of our home.” 
photo credit: Historic Wilmington Foundation