Tag Archives: Clayton County

Rocky Mount Baptist Church-Rex, Georgia

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.

The grave of his grandparents and his Aunt Ruby

The cemetery also has a handful of Eldren Bailey markers.

Wat Lao Buddha Phothisaram-Conley, Georgia

Built in 2006 on land acquired in 1998, Wat Lao Buddha Phothisaram loosely translates to Laotian Buddhist temple under the Bodhi trees. The temple sits atop a hill that is surrounded by trees.

In addition to the temple, there are Buddhas atop pedestals with names of different people who have passed. I am uncertain if these are cenotaphs or the cremains are contained within the marker. Since Buddhist are usually cremated, I am assuming the cremains are with each marker. (If you know for certain, please message me.)

Buonloth Phommarin, 1945-2016
Bounsuo Chanthavong

Eldren Bailey-Atlanta, Georgia

Eldren Bailey is seated in front of the sculptures in his front yard.

Eldren Bailey (1903-1987) was a sculptor known for large concrete sculptures. Born in Flovilla, Georgia, he moved to Atlanta at an early age. He first worked with the railroads, but he later became a mason. Many of his sculptures were brightly colored and adorned his front yard. Where he was most prolific though was helping many Black-owned funeral homes with the creation of grave markers.

Admittedly, I had always interpreted these as temporary markers, and for some families, they might have been true. For many, these markers are now permanent. Bailey’s markers differ from many of the other concrete markers seen in Black cemeteries.

Some of his larger pieces did end up in museums, but many of the sculptures seen in his front yard have disappeared.

Bailey’s marker in Southview Cemetery. You can see a similar sculpture behind Bailey in the photo at the top.
This is likely a Bailey marker. It is in Morgan County. Haugabrooks was a Black owned funeral home.
Clayton County, Georgia
Fulton County
Fulton County
A marker that was later incorporated as part of a crypt design
Based on the handwriting and the floral pattern, I suspect this was done by Bailey, too.
$10 receipt for marker that my friend Liz Clappin found

For more reading, I suggest the following:

Black Art Story

Oakland Cemetery Blog Post

Books recommendations

Souls Grown Deep

South-View: An African American City of the Dead

Jonesboro School-Jonesboro, Georgia

Clayton County

This is a heavily modified Rosenwald school in Jonesboro, Georgia. Built for $5325 in 1931, this served the community as a three-teacher type school. There has been some push from the community to restore the school. Based on what.I could assess, it was not in use.

Jonesboro City Cemetery-Jonesboro, Georgia

Clayton County
George T. Crawford, 1855-1886

Still, an active cemetery, the Jonesboro City Cemetery highlights a combination of Victorian monuments, handmade markers, and manufactured ones. It also illustrates that it was a segregated cemetery. The Black section sits at the back of the cemetery, and it has several markers showing men and women who were born into slavery but lived past the end of the Civil War.

“Resting till the resurrection.”
Clarence Stagger, 1979-2003
Martha Lee, 1841-1904

Flat Rock Church Cemetery-Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, Georgia

One of two cemeteries that sits in the shadow of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The Flat Rock Church Cemetery was founded in 1870s. It is one of the few reminders of a community once known as Flat Rock. It is accessible via Riverdale Road.

The MWA on the monument stands for Modern Woodmen of America.