Preservation Forsyth and the Unmarked Initiative Research Grant Received

Last Spring, CHARG and Preservation Forsyth submitted a Certified Local Government (CLG) Grant with the City of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission to begin the research component of the Unmarked Initiative, Preservation Forsyth’s effort to raise awareness and document every African American cemetery in Forsyth County. CHARG worked with a Wake Forest University student, Christian Estrada, who was interning with Preservation Forsyth to convert the North Carolina Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) cemetery site forms into an ArcGIS Survey123 form, to facilitate the submission of cemeteries identified in Forsyth County. This CLG Grant will allow for the documentation effort to begin.

Preservation Forsyth Logo.

The primary goal of this grant is to build a base of already conducted research and materials to aid in later efforts at identifying and documenting cemeteries. The first goal is to accumulate the cemetery files that have already been submitted to the City of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission. These files are largely in paper format, and, aside from a point map with no meta data, only a portion of them have been documented with the State, and even fewer have been submitted as part of the State Cemetery Survey. Additionally, the grant will work to get a number of historic maps georeferenced that show the locations of properties, cemeteries, and churches that may be helpful in aiding the identification of additional cemeteries.

By building this baseline of information into the State survey, we will be able to pull out the African American cemeteries that have been identified already, determine what additional documentation or recording might be necessary at the sites, and build connections with caretakers and descendants. The project will also serve as a test case for the use of ArcGIS Survey123 forms for entering cemeteries, and allow us to work with OSA to build an efficient digital system that may be replicable in other counties.

Logo of the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology.

The funding will go primarily towards hiring interns to georeference maps and fill out cemetery survey forms using the information from the paper files. These interns will begin their work this spring, and will be hired by Forsyth County, and work with Dr. Terry Brock at CHARG. Students can be from any college or university in Forsyth County, and interested students should contact CHARG by emailing Dr. Brock.

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