July 12, 2017

Pennington African Cemetery’s Civil War Heroes

On Wednesday, July 19, Civil War historian and retired National Archives Regional Director Kellee Green Blake will present “No Slave Beneath that Starry Flag: Civil War Heroes of the Pennington African Cemetery.” Ms. Blake’s lecture will share stories of Pennington’s own as they fought with the Union Army as part of famed, yet segregated units, including the United States “Colored” Troops (USCT). These local men won battles in Virginia, defended Union territory in Louisiana, and even led in the April 1865 liberation of Richmond. With disparate pay, inconsistent support, and overwhelming demands, they nevertheless dared all to “smite for liberty.” Those who returned to Pennington were irrevocably changed by their wartime experiences and assumed new roles in the community.

The free lecture will be held at 7 p.m. on July 19 at The Pennington School, 112 West Delaware Avenue, Pennington.

Today, the cemetery where these African Civil War Soldier are buried is maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers through the Pennington African Cemetery Association as a cultural resource enjoyed by educators, researchers, and neighbors.

Located on South Main Street in Pennington, the Pennington African Cemetery is one of the oldest historical landmarks in the area. It is the resting place of individuals born as far back as the Revolutionary War up until the Civil Rights era. In the midst of a raging Civil War, Pennington citizens of African descent secured the deed to a parcel of land for a cemetery. Their men were going off to war and racial segregation affected all aspects of life, including burials. Today, this peaceful one-acre is the resting place of many important contributors to the Pennington area, among them Civil War soldiers whose legacies endure and whose sacrifices must not be forgotten.