African American and Native American Cemetery, Charlotte
The memorial marker at Sardis Presbyterian Church is about 3-feet wide and 2-feet high and made of granite. The front angles backward and has the logo of the National Society Colonial Dames XVII at the top. It is otherwise unadorned aside from the inscription. It marks the entrance to the cemetery which has also been restored and a split rail fence erected as an Eagle Scout project.
SARDIS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH / THIS CEMETERY IS THE FINAL RESTING PLACE OF AFRO-AMERICAN / SLAVES AND NATIVE AMERICANS WHO WERE BAPTIZED / COMMUNING MEMBERS OF SARDIS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. / ORAL HISTORY SAYS THAT THE CEMETERY WAS USED FROM THE / CHURCH’S FOUNDING IN 1790 UNTIL THE 1860S.
THE MONUMENT WAS PLACED BY / THE NATIONAL SOCIETY COLONIAL DAMES XVII CENTURY, / GOVERNOR JOHN ARCHDALE CHAPTER, IN 2015 / AS PART OF THE 225TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHURCH.
Sardis Presbyterian Church
October 17, 2015
35.158030 , -80.775710 View in Geobrowse
Funk, Tim and Schwab, Gary. “Slave Cemetery at Sardis Presbyterian Church Will Finally Get Marker Saturday” The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC) October 16, 2015, (accessed January 24, 2017) Link
Joyce, Jay. “Mecklenburg Color Guard Supports Colonial Dames Grave Marking,” North Carolina Sons of the American Revolution, October 17, 20115, (accessed January 24, 2017) Link
Schwab, Gary. “Slave Cemetery at Sardis Presbyterian Church Is 'Sacred’ Ground',” The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC) February 22, 2014, (accessed January 24, 2017) Link
“Colonial Dames Dedicated Historic Cemetery Marker,” Gaston Gazette (Gastonia, NC), October 30, 2015, (accessed January 24, 2017) Link
“Marker for Slave Cemetery on Sardis Road,” WBTV.com, October 17, 2015, (accessed January 24, 2017) Link
The National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century, Governor John Archdale Chapter
In front of approximately 200 people the keynote address was delivered by Colonial Dames XVII Century President General Elizabeth “Libby” Snuggs McAteer, of Gastonia. During her comments “she stressed that the Society strives to mark and preserve historical sites so that our heritage can be preserved for future generations.” The marker was unveiled by Katherine Hohmann, president of the Gov. John Archdale chapter and Sardis Presbyterian Church Cemetery Committee Chairman David Blackley.
In attendance was Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick (see subject notes), whose ancestors were buried in the cemetery. “The emotional piece for me,” he said, “is that my ancestors who are responsible for me, who I am, are finally getting their just recognition for their lives and their existence... this goes toward my own personal and family’s personal spiritual healing around slavery.
Also present for the ceremony were the Color Guard of the Mecklenburg Chapter; Sons of the American Revolution; clergy and members of Sardis Presbyterian Church; local officials and Colonial Dames from across the state.
Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick whose ancestors were buried in the cemetery flew in from Oregon to attend the dedication. He was a central figure in a 1970’s lawsuit that led to the integration of the Shrine Bowl, a high school all-star football game, played between North Carolina and South Carolina.
The project was initiated by Katherine Hohmann, president of the Governor John Archdale Chapter of the Colonial Dames, the Sardis Presbyterian Church Cemetery Committee and Hoke Thompson, as his Eagle Scout project. Markers or gravestone had never been placed to those buried in the cemetery. It had been thought that 65 people were buried there but Eagle Scout Hoke and University of North Carolina at Charlotte professor Andy Bobyarchick, used electronic radar to scan the cemetery grounds. They identified what could be 80 different graves.
The address for Sardis Presbyterian Church is 6100 Sardis Rd, Charlotte, NC. The marker is across the street to the right of the house used by the Boy Scout Troop.