City hopes to preserve slave cemetery uncovered in South End

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Just outside the edge of construction and brand new apartment complexes, a slave cemetery was rediscovered in South End.
Over the weekend, volunteers filled black trash bags with brush and debris they cleared from the site at the corner of Youngblood Street and Remount Road.
Charlotte's code enforcement first got a call about the overgrown lot in the fall. Southwest Service Area Code Leader Eugene Bradley said their first step was to try to find the property owner.
"We discovered there was no ownership. It was a cemetery," Bradley said.
After digging deeper, Bradley said his team found evidence that the stone markers at the site are a part of a slave cemetery that could date back to the late 1800s.
Bradley said some county records identify it as Youngblood Cemetery while other historians refer to it as Shuman Cemetery.
Center City Partners has offered to maintain the lot while the Charlotte School of Law helps the city locate an owner or heir to the property.
Even though it rests just yards away from major construction projects, Bradley said the ultimate goal is for the community to work together to preserve the site and memory of those buried here.
"We want to make sure this piece stays special and not just business as usual," he said.
Residents we talked to in South End support the idea.
"Charlotte's developing so fast." Sheri Hilton said. "They should preserve that so we can have some semblance of history of where we came from. They're tearing down so much stuff."
"The kids today have no idea of the struggles that people went through to do the things they are so fortunate and able to do today and that graveyard is a part of that history and culture and heritage of Charlotte,” Bonita Hutchinson said.
Bradley said anyone with information about who may own the lot at the corner of Youngblood Street and Remount Road can give his office a call at 704-432-1579.