In the early
1900’s newly freed blacks acquired farm and timber land in Newton County
in rural Hickory, Mississippi, an area now known as Good Hope Black
This group of freed men and women, according to the laws of the
Mississippi Black code, and what they were “allowed” to do, set out to
redefine community and family life.
The early settlers of Good Hope, the Salters, Johnsons, Dawkins,
Chapmans, Browns, Gaddis’, Rileys, Currys and other families suffered
many inconveniences and endured great daily hardships.
Slowly as the number of settlers increased the settlement gradually
began to resemble a rural community, especially as schools and
businesses were established.
Shortly after the turn of the century the black residents of Good Hope
settlement were no longer allowed to worship with the exslave owning
And in 1908, with the assistance and perhaps the blessing of the white
congregation, Filmore Johnson and others were instrumental in
establishing Good Hope Black Settlement Baptist Church and Good Hope
Church Black Cemetery.
The church cemetery is approximately 100 years old, however, all
documentation and oral history indicates that the area may have been
used as a burial ground as early as 1880.
Yet Good Hope Church Cemetery is not the only burial place for the
community’s ancestors. Several yards behind the church, what is known by
the black community as the “White Good Hope Church”, lays The Colored
Cemetery. Where many of the community enslaved ancestors are buried.
By the early 1920’s the cemetery was set amidst a different landscape.
It was at the “heart” of the community, not far from the small farm
houses, out buildings and fields. When someone became sick and died,
neighbors and family and friends rallied around to help. Some cooked and
cared for the children and other helped to dig the graves and all would
help to decorate it with flowers and other things.
This picture of the 100 year old cemetery has suffered terribly from the
ravages of time, vandalism, and neglect. As a result many headstones are
missing or badly weather worn. Many are broken and still others lay flat
and in need of professional conservation work. Grave sites have been
overlooked for many years by the descendents who lovingly laid their
ancestors to rest.
We can not allow this “unredeemable
to be lost forever.
Research is being undertaken by
Larry Salter and Joyce Salter Johnson in conjunction with Dr. Harold
Graham of the Newton County Historical Society.
Locate and identify
as many as possible all unmarked graves
Apply for listing of
Historic Good Hope Black Settlement Cemetery (HGHBSC) on the Mississippi
Historical Commission’s registry of historic place
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO
ARE SEVERAL WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
Become a family
supporter of Good Hope Church Black Settlement Cemetery. The Good Hope
Church Black Settlement cemetery is under the auspices of the
144 So. Hancock St.
Madison, WI 53703
a 5013c not for profit
organization and is tax deductible to the extent of tax law governing
If you have
experience and are interested in donating your time to help make this
project successful, please consider some of the following activities.
ON SITE RESEARCH
UP KEEP OF GROUNDS
MAINTAINING SHRUBS, TREES, AND FLOWERS
In August 1, 2008
Historic Good Hope Black Cemetery will be 100 years old. Please plan to be
present to help celebrate its centennial anniversary.