In honor of Black History Month, we’re spotlighting work taking place in North Carolina’s historically black communities. Public engagement and collaboration are key on these projects, and we have been challenged to approach each one with open mindedness and sensitivity. These communities have introduced us to more of the rich and varied cultural history of our state, and it is a privilege to be a part of showcasing everything they have to offer.
WithersRavenel is working with the Town of Kernersville to provide some clarity and historic knowledge at an African-American cemetery.[vc_video link=’https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmlgvSB6IsM’]
St. Paul’s Cemetery contains graves dating to before the Civil War. Located on Main Street, the burial site for slaves and free blacks was reborn in the 1990s. Sarah Friende Hamlin, whose ancestors are buried at the site, spearheaded an effort to clear trees and brush while also enclosing the site in fencing and erecting historic markers. Volunteers from schools and organizations, led by Kernersville Historic Preservation Society, continue to maintain the site today.
Although stone markers and gravestones pepper the site, the Town enlisted WithersRavenel to help pinpoint burial sites to minimize potential disturbance by volunteers and visitors while also increasing historic knowledge.
WithersRavenel’s Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) team was able to better identify St. Paul’s grave locations, including places not previously marked. Using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) equipment, the more than one-acre cemetery. Information gathered from the investigation can be imported into various platforms such as ArcGIS and AutoCAD to produce a map providing greater detail and understanding of the site.
WithersRavenel’s SUE services can help towns, developers and businesses find out what lies beneath. If you have a project that requires SUE services, click here for more information.
This post was originally published on May 27, 2020, and was updated on February 3, 2021.