According to the historical marker, In 1853 Savannah reserved 4 acres in the new Laurel Grove Cemetery for Savannah’s African-American Community. This new burial ground replaced an older Black cemetery located near Whitefield Square. Pastors Andrew Bryan (First Colored Baptist Church) and Henry Cunningham (Second Baptist Church) were among those whose bodies were moved to the new location. The end of slavery brought an economic boom to the enterprising Black Community. The Wage Earners Bank was the first bank of its kind to have 1 million dollars in deposits, and it secured loans for many Black men and women to do business on bustling West Broad Street. Many of those men and women are buried with gorgeous headstones in LGS. However, by the 1972 much of the cemetery had fallen into disrepair. W.W. Law, then president of the Savannah NAACP, answered the call. He had plots restored and cleared of growth. In 1978 Savannah applied to have LGS put National Register of Historic Places. LGS is still in use and available to visit daily from 8am-5pm.
Laurel Grove South Cemetery is revered as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the South. Above that, it is a historically Black cemetery, filled with some of Savannah’s most notable residents. Pastors, doctors, newspaper editors, bank owners, land tycoons, and civil rights leaders are just a few of the residents buried here. This site is meant to dive into the history of the cemetery and the people within it.
This site is run by the Laurel Grove Society, which is known more for what it isn’t than what it is. It’s not a Non-Profit. It’s not a For-Profit business. You can think of it like a book club, but instead of swapping opinions on the latest novel we like to swap histories of LGS and its residents. The founder loves mystery more than history, and digging through old records online to find out about the people buried at LGS offers mystery to spare. This website is a small way of giving back for the use and enjoyment of the cemetery.
Note: This site is not sponsored or run by the city of Savannah.