Between 2007 and 2011, I located the graves of some of our oldest paternal ancestors in the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex. In 2011, I provided a title search of Fishers Hill Cemetery to Vice Mayor Charles Whitehurst, and presented before Portsmouth City Council on the matter in an effort to get the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex made a city cemetery. In 2014, that goal was accomplished, through research, tenacity, advocacy, and plain hard work.
We developed a great working relationship with the city’s Parks and Recreation director, and supplied a ton of ideas all designed for the preservation of the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex, including preparing the nominations for the National Register of Historic Places and the Network to Freedom. These ideas were incorporated into a presentation the Parks and Recreation director gave before City Council in May, 2014, slides of which I’ve included here. I also shared it to our African American Historic Cemeteries of Portsmouth, Virginia Facebook page.
For the first stage of ground-penetrating radar, $80,000 would be set aside from the city budget. The Parks and Rec. director was in communication with a group in Leesburg, Virginia to perform the work.
March 12, 2014