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—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, November 12 (9AM-12PM)
– Saturday, February 11 (9AM-12PM)
– Saturday, March 11 (9AM-12PM)
– Saturday, April 8 (9AM-12PM)

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

above: Kathy King displays a map of Maides Cemetery (photo credit: HWF)

Where We Started

Since May 22, 2021, volunteers have gathered weekly to clear the ground around graves, both marked and unmarked, in addition to cutting down and hauling away several trees that had fallen during Hurricane Florence. Many thanks to those who have lent their time and labor to this important project! We’ve made great strides; the before and after photos are striking! Continuing care is still needed on a regular basis to honor this cemetery and those interred.

Check out our gallery of “before” photos (left)! All photos may be credited to the Historic Wilmington Foundation. 

VIEW OUR PROGRESS

Our team of volunteers has made great strides. These “after” photos are striking! Continuing care is still needed on a regular basis to honor this cemetery and those interred.

Check out our gallery of “after” photos (right), which were taken by HWF in June of 2022.

HISTORIC PLAQUE

The Historic Wilmington Foundation (HWF) dedicated a historic plaque for Maides Cemetery during a ceremony on October 8, 2022. It was an honor to come together for this momentous occasion with all of the volunteers (pictured, below) who have pitched in to preserve this hallowed ground.

Funerary Art

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.

JUNETEENTH CLEAN-UP

On June 19, 2021, volunteers celebrated and honored Juneteenth by cleaning up Maides Cemetery.

left: The descendants of Freeman Hall (three generations: daughter, granddaughter, and great-grandson), came to honor his memory by tending to his grave. 

UNCOVERING HISTORY

Maides Cemetery is shaped like a triangle, and on the group clean-up on June 5 of 2021, 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.”

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