The Pennington African Cemetery
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About The Pennington African Cemetery

The Pennington African Cemetery is one of the oldest historical landmarks in the area.  It is the resting place of individuals born before the Civil War up until the Civil Rights era.  Historically, people of African descent were segregated in many aspects of life.  We’re all familiar with separate neighborhoods, separate schools and separate churches.  There were also separate cemeteries.  For over 100 years many people were laid to rest here: Civil War veterans, Teachers, Preachers, Singers, Public Servants, Laborers and more.  The people who helped build the Pennington area and establish its cultural roots.

The first known burial was in 1859.  The deed was issued on September 1st 1863 to Samuel Allen, Samuel Blackwell, Theodore Boyer, Jasper Moore, Thomas Tenyke, and Stephen Welling.  They worked with the Bethel AME Church of Pennington to ensure that Black families were guaranteed access to a graveyard to bury their loved ones and honor their ancestors.  Since then the cemetery has been maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers.  These include…William Allen, Uncle George Blackwell, Dorothy Boyer, Fred Boyer, Dave Cain, Florence Case, Keith Case, Fred Clark, Aaron Downes, Helen Driver, Arlene Garrison, Bruce Harrison, Howard Hoagland, Miss Sally Hoagland, Kenneth Hoagland, Charles Jennings, Ira Johnson, Bunny Mason, Beverly Mills, Earl Nevius, Paul Roveda, Fairfax Seruby, Gabrielle Shamsey, Wesley Smith, Newton Stewart, Mabel Taylor, Shana Jennings Williams, Albert Witcher, Angela Witcher, Suzen Witcher and Phyllis Boyer Wood.

Interest in the cemetery continues to grow as we strive to preserve the cemetery with respect to the deceased.  There has been a lot of work done already resulting in the construction of a fence, sign, flagpole, bench seating; as well as stabilizing leaning and overturned headstones, and researching the deceased.  Upcoming and future projects include expanding educational initiatives, adding interpretive signage, leveling sunken graves, adding headstones for unmarked graves, and continuing research on the deceased.

The expansion of educational initiatives is some of our most exciting work.  It is an outgrowth of partnerships we have undertaken with Pennington Boy Scout Troops 41 and 44; as well as the Pennington School.  Anyone interested in joining, participating, donating or simply sharing ideas is encouraged to get involved.  Membership is open to anyone interested in education and historic preservation.

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413-417 South Main St.
Pennington, NJ 08534