The church was the spiritual home of Martin Luther King’s grandparents, Celia and James King. According to the church’s website, the church was founded in 1856. There’s a sign in the cemetery that gives the date if 1853, so I am gathering the cemetery predates the church. Either way, this is an early date for a Black church to be in existence.
Booker T. Washington was an educator, speaker, author, and benefactor. He was the first president of Tuskegee University when it was known as Tuskegee Institute. His accomplishments are numerous. From working with Julius Rosenwald to start the fund for Rosenwald schools to traveling the world to speak on issues that impacted the Black community, Washington was a tireless advocate for change. Many members of the Black community supported his belief that the focus should be on education and wealth accumulation. Whereas there were those, who disagreed with him and felt that he bowed to white interests by not pushing forward an agenda based on civil rights and political representation.
“The Oaks” is a large Victorian that sits next to campus. Tuskegee’s students helped build the home that Washington and his family moved into in 1900.
In 1915, Booker T. Washington passed away. It was believed that he died from congestive heart failure and kidney disease that was caused by the stress of his work (later examination of his medical records indicated that he was suffering from very high blood pressure). Over 8,000 people attended his funeral. He is buried in the campus’s cemetery, which is next to the Chapel.
This is the final resting place of George Washington Carver (1864-1943) in the Tuskegee University cemetery. Carver was the first Black graduate of Iowa State University, earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in agriculture. He became a noted botanist. His stature as a scientist was noticed by Booker T. Washington, who invited him to be a professor at Tuskegee in 1896. He served as a faculty member there for 47 years.
He was known for his technique that focused on crop rotation to prevent soil depletion that often occurred in crop farming, namely cotton. He also focused on providing practical advice to farmers, which he published in regular bulletins.
His grave is within view of Booker T. Washington’s grave. Rocks and a bench surround it. Coins are often left on graves to show someone stopped by to pay respects.
Dr. Horace Mann Bond was an educator and social activist who spent his final years in Atlanta. After serving as president of Lincoln University, he resigned and began serving as the Dean of Education at Atlanta University.
When he first arrived, he lived on Beckwith Street with his wife, Julia, and their three children, Jane, James, and Julian. By 1967, they lived on Lee Street, now Westview Drive.
James and Julian ran successful political campaigns from this apartment building. James was a member of the Atlanta City Council. Julian was the head of the NAACP and SNCC. He served in both houses of the Georgia legislature.
Julia and Horace are buried in Southview Cemetery. Julian was cremated and his ashes were scattered. I am assuming this is a cenotaph, or some of his ashes are buried here, too.
Horace King, 1807-1885, was considered the preeminent bridge builder in the South. It is believed he built over 100 bridges, most of them being in Alabama and Georgia. King was born into slavery in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. His enslaver, John Godwin, earned a bid to build a bridge over the Chattahoochee River. King moved with Godwin to Girard, Alabama, to begin the project.
In 1846, Godwin decided to no longer hold King in bondage. I have also read that King purchased his freedom. At this point, King’s services were in high demand to build bridges. He moved freely throughout the South. He is credited with building bridges at many points over the Chattahoochee River and other rivers. Outside of bridges, he built homes and warehouses. He also built the freestanding spiral staircase in the Alabama State Capitol.
In 1839, he married free woman, Frances Gould Thomas. They had four boys and one girl. For whatever reason, the grave markers for the four boys have the birthdate of 1844. Based on census records, which can be incorrect, I believe Washington King was born in 1840, Marshall in 1842, John in 1846, and George in 1850. All of the children were involved in the construction company that they called the King Brothers Bridge Company.
On July 25, 1946, George W. (1917-1946) and Mae Murray (1922-1946) Dorsey, and Roger (1922-1946) and Dorothy (1926-1946) Malcom were murdered by a group of ten to fifteen white men on a dirt road near the Apalachee River. The Moore’s Ford Bridge crosses near where the incident happened.
The two couples worked for farmer J. Loy Harrison (1903-1987) as sharecroppers. On July 11, Roger Malcom allegedly stabbed a white farmer, Barnette Hester (1917-1982). On July 25, Harrison bailed out Malcom and drove the Malcoms and Dorseys back towards the farm. As they neared the bridge, Harrison was forced to pull over while the the gang of white men proceeded to murder the two couples.
The case remains unsolved despite the FBI offering reward money for clues in solving the case. It is believed that Harrison and others in the community know who committed the murders, but no one ever came forward. Despite renewed interest in the case, the federal government chose to officially close the investigation on March 27, 2020.
A group reenacts the day’s events every year. You can follow their page to get more information.