Friends of Geer Cemetery
Thursday, July 25, 2019
701 West Main Street, Rm 2901, 2nd Floor
Durham, NC 27701
Geer Cemetery is one of the first Black Cemeteries of Durham. “Friends of Geer Cemetery” is a volunteer group with goals of restoring the cemetery to honor the legacies of those laid to rest.
Learn more about our partnership with the FOGC and how you can help with:
- Clean up and restoration efforts
- Research & Genealogy
- Organizational development and capacity
- Visibility and community outreach
The Geer Cemetery is perhaps the single most important artifact of Durham’s African-American community from the city’s earliest years.
Soon after the City of Durham was founded in 1869, officials of the new city set about creating a publicly maintained burial place for white citizens. Maplewood Cemetery opened in 1872. No equivalent cemetery was created for Durham’s African-American residents. In 1877, African-American leaders in the community purchased a few acres from the Geer family to serve as a cemetery for African-Americans. From 1877 until 1925, when the city finally created Beechwood Cemetery, the Geer Cemetery served as Durham’s primary burial place for African-Americans. The cemetery remained open until the 1930s, but fell into disuse and neglect after that. Trees and dense undergrowth took over and markers in the cemetery fell or were knocked down. Beginning in the 1990s, various groups began work to clean up the cemetery and draw attention to its plight. The Friends of Geer Cemetery grew out of these efforts and is now working to preserve the cemetery and rediscover its history.
The cemetery is located one block east of Avondale Avenue on the edge of the Duke Park neighborhood at the corner of Camden and Colonial Avenues.