Pathway to Pride: African American History Interpretive Area
On May 5, 2020, members of the Southern Memorial Association (SMA) and city officials broke ground on a new memorial walkway in the Old City Cemetery. This new “Pathway to Pride” is dedicated to the Black History in Old City Cemetery which has not previously had a structure or feature in the cemetery specifically devoted to it. This pathway will be paved with historic bricks from Harrison Street which will be laid in the existing Third Street path that borders the iconic first acre.
From 1806 to 1885, Old City Cemetery was the only public burial ground in Lynchburg open to African-Americans, and two-thirds of those buried in the cemetery are African-American. On both sides of the Pathway to Pride are the final resting places for many prominent figures in Lynchburg’s rich Black History, and at the end of this path is a stately monolith with the name “Pride” carved into it which marks the Pride family plot.
When the new pathway is complete, it will be lined by historic daffodils, roses, and other plants as well as signs adding to the historical context of the area and those buried in the cemetery. These signs will highlight Lynchburg’s Black History and will showcase some of the figures buried near the path such as Amelia and Claiborne Pride, Virginia Cabell Randolph, Daniel Butler, and Lugie Ferguson. These outstanding figures are but a few of the countless leaders of yesteryear’s African-American community who strove to advance themselves and their neighbors, and only a sampling of the many equally amazing stories waiting to be told on the “Pathway to Pride.”
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