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Pierce Chapel African Cemetery in Midland, Georgia on America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places 2023 List

Pierce Chapel African Cemetery / Hamilton Hood Foundation, LLC

Tuesday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation unveiled its 2023 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, an annual ranking that spotlights significant sites of American history that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage.

One of the eleven places listed is located in Georgia. Pierce Chapel African Cemetery, established circa 1828 and located in Midland, is one of the oldest burial grounds for Africans enslaved at several plantations in Harris County, and their descendants. Estimated to contain up to 500 burials in two acres of land, the cemetery is a landscape of tribute and memory, with archaeological evidence of cultural traditions that trace back to West Africa.

The Hamilton Hood Foundation, started by a descendant of those interred at Pierce Chapel African Cemetery and led by a descendant leadership council and advisory board, has been leading efforts to protect the burial ground. However, the Foundation attributes recent damage to burial sites, markers, and artifacts to utility companies’ use of heavy equipment, even leaving some remains exposed. Tree removal and road grading have further disrupted the gravesites and impacted the cemetery’s drainage system, adding to its ongoing deterioration.

The Foundation has been working in cooperation with the landowner to preserve and commemorate this sacred place, including volunteering to haul away trash and debris, instating regular mowing, paying for archaeology studies, and working with utility companies Georgia Power and Mediacom to remove power and broadband cable lines that ran through the site. Now that the utility lines have been removed, the Foundation is asking Georgia Power and Mediacom to address the harm done to the cemetery and the history that was erased.

Learn more about Pierce Chapel African Cemetery and find out what you can do to help preserve it at

“This year’s list of the nation’s most endangered historic places is a portfolio of sites that are nearly as diverse as the American experience itself,” said Jay Clemens, interim president and CEO of the National Trust. “The places on this list come in all forms, from individual residences to entire neighborhoods, and are located across the country from small communities to urban streetcorners and rural landscapes. The diversity of sites on the 2023 list—and the stories behind them—reflect the complexities and challenges that have always been part of what it means to be American but have not always received the attention they deserve. Losing any of them would diminish us all.”

Since first debuting in 1988, the list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has proven to be a highly effective tool for shining a light on the threats facing our nation’s greatest treasures. Due to the efforts of the National Trust and passionate supporters, the 11 Most list has often provided the decisive force needed to preserve important cultural landmarks. Now in its 36th year, the ongoing initiative has galvanized public support behind more than 350 sites across the country with only a handful lost.

The 11 Most Endangered list demonstrates the tremendous power of place. Each site offers an opportunity to engage with our shared history where it happened and inspires us to work together to honor each other’s experiences and contributions to our country,” said Chief Preservation Officer Katherine Malone-France. “These places and their stories might have been lost already if not for the dedication and perseverance of people who continue to stand up for them year after year. We are humbled and honored to join their fight.”


Source National Trust for Historic Preservation

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