© 2019 by Laurel Wilson, MHP

Section 6

The 58-acre Decatur Cemetery was founded in 1823 and its old section is on the National Register of Historic Places. Until the mid-20th Century, the old part of the cemetery was segregated, with three regions being reserved for African American burials (see map). 

The oldest documented African American burials were of Dorcas Henderson, Israel Sanford, and Simon Read in 1886, although newspaper accounts state that 34 African Americans were buried there in 1883, and 36 in 1885. It is believed that African Americans have been buried in the cemetery much earlier than this but research is ongoing. As many people often purchased family plots in advance, burials continued in Section 6 decades after segregation, including Cleo Marks in 2000 and Anita Doris Hall and Linton Wendell Gaines in 2011.

While a significant portion of those buried in Section 6 lived in one of several segregated neighborhoods of Decatur at some point, many lived in other African American communities throughout DeKalb County including Atlanta and Edgewood. 

Based on the numbering system of the cemetery, the segregated region on the southeastern side of the old section is known as Section 6, but there are segregated African American regions in the central and northeastern parts of the old cemetery, as well. Although it is not accurate to the cemetery's numbering system, to avoid confusion I refer to the entire aggregate segregated areas as "Section 6": Section 6 North, Section 6 Central, and Section 6 East.

I have compiled a searchable list of those known or thought to be buried in Section 6, including up-to-date research notes, that you can download from the roster link below. This list was populated from various resources, from definite to questionable reliability, including existing grave markers, obituaries and death notices, and cemetery records. This is a work in progress and is regularly updated, with the file name reflecting the most recent version. If you have any further information on anyone buried in Section 6 or would like to provide a correction, please contact me using the contact form.

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Click the image above for the roster of those buried in Section 6

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View Map

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View a gallery of Section 6 images