The Mount Peace Cemetery is the largest of several cemeteries that were operated by and for African Americans during the late 19th century, when racial segregation of burials was widespread. This 11-acre property includes the graves of Civil War veterans and US Navy Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson. Founded in 1890, the cemetery owner went bankrupt in 1952. A subsequent fire destroyed the cemetery office and its records. The Association later sold an 8-acre portion of its site for use as a gas station. Little maintenance was provided until 1978, when a group of local residents (the Lawnside Men's Association) began cleaning the site and investing in the cemetery trust fund. The Association continues to do volunteer maintenance and clearing services.
The site is threatened by encroaching development, limited funds for maintenance and restoration, and lack of public support for the historic character of the site. Physically, retaining walls are deteriorated and natural growth encroaches on the individual grave sites. While significant portions of the grounds are cleared of overgrowth, sections of the cemetery that contains burial sites remain overgrown.
The grant helped fund the preparation of a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places and an initial needs assessment for the site. The findings of the assessment and recommendations for maintenance and restoration were presented at a day long workshop for the Cemetery Association and the broader community.
For more information, visit: http://www.petermotthouse.org/news/MtPeacelink.html