To show their appreciation to Covington city council, the African American Historical Association has invited the city to attend a consecration ceremony for the 300 unmarked graves recently discovered in City Cemetery.
The burial site is believed to belong to slaves and paupers, dating back to the 1700s.
"The city should be commended for taking this on. It is only right we include them in this ceremony," said African American Historical Association President Forrest Sawyer, Jr. "Each group of unknown bodies, in each cemetery, deserves to be given this kind of recognition and honor."
Len Strozier of Omega Mapping Services, commissioned by the council earlier this year, discovered the graves along the East Street portion of Covington City Cemetery. Strozier will be mapping part of Westview Cemetery, where there could be a mass burial site. Sawyer believes there could be up to 500 unmarked graves out there, as Strozier found areas that could have a body, but the only way to be certain is to dig.
The council gladly accepted the invitation and will continue to work on finding more unmarked graves in the city. According to Mayor Kim Carter, it is rumored that a slave cemetery exists off Brown Bridge Road near Turner Lake Park. The council approved further investigations to find evidence of the rumors.
"We felt this was important since we have already started this work," said Carter. "Not only would this be a nice gesture, but it is very important to honor the heritage and locate as many (unmarked) graves as possible."
The ceremony will be held at Covington City Cemetery on East Street Sept. 3 at 11 a.m., followed by another ceremony on West Street at 2 p.m. Subsequent ceremonies will be held on the same day should Strozier find more unmarked graves in other cemeteries.