The average height of the grass throughout the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex is now two feet, as of April 11, 2012. Hopefully, a new contractor will be put in place soon. I worry about the integrity of the stones that are now hidden from view.
Friends of Portsmouth Virginia's African-American Cemeteries
African American Historic Cemeteries of Portsmouth Virginia was established in May, 2011. We represent descendants and
volunteers who are interested in restoring the Mt. Calvary Cemetery
Complex (est. 1879), and Lincoln Memorial Cemetery (1912). These sites (including the cemeteries of Grove Baptist Church and Olive Branch Baptist Church) are the only places where African Americans were
allowed to be buried in the city of Portsmouth until 1975, when
city cemeteries were integrated, after over two decades of community
pressure led by the Tidewater chapter of the NAACP, and community
leaders. As such, the cemeteries represent a microcosm of the African American
community of Portsmouth from 1850 to 1975.
For the Mt. Calvary
Cemetery Complex, our first priority, we have recorded and transcribed all
existing tombstone inscriptions, photographed and documented the current
conditions of the stones, and compiled a database of over 7,300 names
of persons interred. A new friends group, Mt. Calvary Historical Cemeteries, dedicated to the restoration of Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex, will be established in 2014. We are currently seeking to place this heritage site on the National Register of Historic Places.