Pierce Chapel African Cemetery

Pierce Chapel African Cemetery

Pierce Chapel African Cemetery, established circa 1828, is one of the oldest burial grounds for Africans enslaved at several plantations in Harris County, Georgia, and their descendants. Estimated to contain up to 500 burials in two acres of land, the cemetery is a landscape of tribute and memory, with archaeological evidence of cultural traditions that trace back to West Africa.

The Hamilton Hood Foundation, started by a descendant of those interred at Pierce Chapel African Cemetery and led by a descendant leadership council and advisory board, has been leading efforts to protect the burial ground. However, the Foundation attributes recent damage to burial sites, markers, and artifacts to utility companies’ use of heavy equipment, even leaving some remains exposed. Tree removal and road grading have further disrupted the gravesites and impacted the cemetery’s drainage system, adding to its ongoing deterioration.

The Foundation has been working in cooperation with the landowner to preserve and commemorate this sacred place, including volunteering to haul away trash and debris, instating regular mowing, paying for archaeology studies, and working with utility companies Georgia Power and Mediacom to remove power and broadband cable lines that ran through the site. Now that the utility lines have been removed, the Foundation is asking Georgia Power and Mediacom to address the harm done to the cemetery and the history that was erased.

Pierce Chapel African Cemetery, was placed on the America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places List for 2023.