Dixonville-Lincoln Memorial task force launches fundraiser to complete second phase of project

Published 12:10 am Thursday, February 24, 2022

SALISBURY — Members of the Dixonville-Lincoln Memorial task force have launched a gourmet popcorn fundraiser to complete the second phase of the ongoing memorial project.

One of the city’s oldest Black cemeteries, Dixonville Cemetery was deeded to the city of Salisbury in 1874. There are more than 500 documented burials that have occurred at the Dixonville site since 1914, but many are unmarked because they took place prior to official record-keeping. The oldest existing headstone in Dixonville Cemetery dates to 1851.

Since 2010, the Dixonville-Lincoln Memorial Task Force has worked to identify names and connections for a three-phased project. The Dixonville community was located on the east side of Salisbury, and much of it was impacted by urban renewal in the 1960s. Work on the cemetery project started in 2018. Task force and community members have repaired existing grave markers and created a history sign, a foot path and an interpretative walk.

Until Saturday at noon, people interested in furthering the project’s efforts can purchase gourmet popcorn from Double Good by visiting dixonvillememorial.com/popcorn. The Double Good brand of gourmet popcorn has butter, cheese, queso, salt and pepper, caramel, kettle and jalapeño flavors, with prices ranging from $9 for single bags and up to $100 for a set. Donors can also opt to make a monetary contribution instead of receiving the popcorn.

The second phase created an interpretive walk that connects to the memorial walk with stops along the path where visitors are welcome to gather, study and reflect on the history of the cemetery and the Dixonville neighborhood. A $50,000 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation allowed Rowan-Cabarrus Community College to install a “Here’s My Story” seating area that includes a bench with quotes from local resident and Salisbury Pride board member Jamie Wilkerson and Kiddieland Kindergarten teacher and administrator Timika Peterson.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will be dedicated to the completion of the second phase of the project. Dixonville-Lincoln Memorial Task Force Chair Emily Perry said $15,000 will help members engrave around 530 names on columns at the memorial site. The money will also help with the installation of a marker listing members of the committee and those who supported the project since its inception more than a decade ago. Engravings of quotes from various people will be made on the steps of the site, Perry said. The donations are especially needed at this time as bids are coming in higher than anticipated, she added.

Earlier this month, Perry and city communications staff discovered around a dozen toppled and broken gravestones during a visit to the site to film videos for Black History Month. Perry and Alyssa Nelson, an urban design planner for the city, said Public Works staff have cleaned up several of the vandalized graves and Salisbury Marble and Granite is working to inspect and repair the gravestones free of charge.

The memorial site, located at 210 Old Concord Road, represents a centerpiece of a tight-knit neighborhood and a pathway for children attending the historic Lincoln Elementary School, which was the first school opened for Black students in Salisbury in the late 1800s. The third phase of the project involves restoration of the school, but challenges remain as Mt. Calvary Holy Church owns the property where the schools sits.

The task force also held the same fundraiser during the spring of 2021, with proceeds exceeding the goal set at the time, Perry said. She added that members are exploring other fundraising efforts for the project if not all funds are received with this one.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com or call her at 704-797-4246.

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