The Kingston Land Trust Hosts Tour of the Mt. Zion African-American Burial Grounds in Kingston

The Kingston Land Trust will host a very special tour of the African-American Burial Grounds in the city of Kingston on Wednesday, August 11th at 2:00pm.  The group will meet at the South Wall Street cemetary and will be led by Kingston Historian Ed Ford, who will take participants through the history of both sites (South Wall and Pine Street).

Due to a lack of parking at the site, participants are asked to please either meet at 1:30pm in front of the Hudson Valley Coffee Traders, 288 Wall Street in uptown Kingston to carpool. All others, as you know the site is not easy to find and hasn’t any parking. Please park along the cemetary entrance side of the road, and be careful not to block the driveway that is adjacent.

If your group wishes to participate, please contact Executive Director Rebecca Martin at kingstonlandtrust@gmail.com or, you can call 845/877 – LAND (5263).

About the Mt. Zion African American Cemetary (as per the Kingston, NY Architectural Guide):
This African-American cemetary is scarcely visible from South Wall Street because it is set well back from teh street in a semi-rural setting. LIttle is known about the history of the cemetary, although Gail Schneider discovered a deed dated May 1st, 1840,, between Henry and Ann Houghtaling, parties of the first part, and Richard Peterson, Samuel Brown, and Samuel Beekman, Trustees of the “Coulered people’s Burying Ground,” parties of the second part. What is apparent is the beauty of the setting, a wooded, elevated tongue of land extending from the cemetary entrance of South Wall Street and providing views down the steep slope towards the Rondout Creek. While smaller than Montrepose and Wiltwyck cemetaries, and lacking the grand monuments and mausolea, Mouth Zion is apparently older. Its landscape features are as appealingly pituresque as those found at Montrepose and Wiltwyck, whih probably were originally intended for the burial of white Kingstonians. Community efforts to remove overgrown nature have revealed numbers of gravestones from the second half of the nineteenth century to the 1980’s, often marking the graves of Civil War and World War Veterens. Some Civil War gravestones were probably lost in May 1918 when vandals took some twenty-six monuments from the graves of Civil War soldiers and hurled them down the embankment, while ruining fifteen other markers. Many in the Kingston community were outraged by this vandalism. Sadly, the graves of most of Kingston’s nine-teenth-century African American population are now unmarked.

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