Among the items in Special Collections at D. Hiden Ramsey Library at the Unviersity of North Carolina at Asheville is an oral history collection about the South Asheville Colored Cemetery.
Interviews with elderly African American natives of Asheville, NC, give a vivid record of rites of death and burial for black residents of Asheville before 1940.
Collection includes: Interviews with nine African American residents of Asheville, NC with knowledge of persons buried in the South Asheville Colored Cemetery ; A partial listing from the Buncombe County Death Registry of persons buried in South Asheville Colored Cemetery ; A list of artifacts related to burials in the cemetery and sources for further information about the cemetery ; An article: “The South Asheville Colored Cemetery 1840-1943,” by Wilburn Hayden, Jr.
Please visit their site and learn about this historic site in our community. When paper records are damaged or nonexistent, sometimes a headstone might bear the only written proof of an ancestor’s existence. In any case, cemeteries are sacred places, and without regular care and maintenance, they are soon overtaken by the growth of vegetation. I am grateful to know that this cemetery is going to be receiving some much needed attention and research expertise to help map it, clean it up, repair broken stones. Although many names are lost to history, an effort is being made to record more of the names of those buried there, both in marked and unmarked graves, and to re-connect those ancestors to their families in our community today.