UPDATED for 2020: All of this year’s free tours are completely full already.
Throughout February, the Historic Oakland Foundation is hosting FREE guided walking tours of Oakland Cemetery’s African American Grounds. The tours have become a Black History Month tradition in Atlanta.
On these walks, the guides tell fascinating stories that celebrate the lives of black heroes and heroines who have long gone unrecognized, as well as those with familiar names.
Stops along the tour include the final resting places of some of Atlanta’s black history pioneers, including:
- Carrie Steele Logan, founder of Atlanta’s first orphanage for African American children
- William Finch, one of Atlanta’s first African American city councilmen
- Bishop John W. Gaines and Julia A. Gaines, pastor and First Lady of Big Bethel A.M.E. Church
- Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first African American mayor
The hour-long tours begin at Oakland Cemetery’s Bell Tower, and will be offered on:
- Thursday, February 7 at 1:00 p.m.
- Tuesday, February 12 at 1:00 p.m.
- Saturday, February 16 at 1:00 p.m.
- Saturday, February 23 at 1:00 p.m.
While the tours are free, advance registration is required, and donations are greatly appreciated — all funds will be designated specifically for the restoration of the African American Grounds.
About Oakland’s African American Grounds
Historic African-American burial traditions relied on natural grave markers like wood, shrubbery, or flowers — which have been lost through the passage of time. Since much of this section of Oakland is missing visual markers, the restoration effort that began in 2017 has been especially challenging.
Watch a six-minute documentary about Oakland Cemetery’s African-American Grounds
About the venue
Historic Oakland Cemetery is Atlanta’s oldest public park, and the final resting place for many notable citizens — including author Margaret Mitchell, former Atlanta mayors Maynard Jackson and Ivan Allen, and sports legend Bobby Jones.
Less than a mile from downtown Atlanta, Oakland’s 48 acres are a treasure trove of history, gardens, sculpture, architecture, and ancient oaks and magnolias.