GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- The unmarked graves of more than 1,100 African-Americans buried in a previously-segregated Gainesville, Georgia cemetery were recognized, Sunday.
The Alta Vista Cemetery dedicated a seven-foot marble obelisk as a marker to honor the unknown black citizens laid to rest in the 140-year-old cemetery.
The monument, conceived by several community organizations that worked over the past two years to foster "racial healing and reconciliation, caps a project by the city to locate the unmarked graves dating back to the 1870s through the 1950s. Each of the 1,148 graves located were also marked with a numbered silver disk.
The obelisk, made from black granite, is surrounded by six matching benches and is inscribed:
"This monument honors the more than 1,100 unmarked graves of African Americans interred in sections 16 and 17 prior to Alta Vista's integration. This memorial stands as our testament that these citizens are important to this community and we embrace them as our own."
Alta Vista Cemetery Superintendent Tommy Casper said he hopes to work with families and historical documents, including family Bibles, to help identify and mark as many of the graves as possible.