HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — A group of Black historians is recognizing and remembering some of High Point’s most influential Black citizens.
On Saturday, the Greenhill Cemetery along Leonard Avenue will receive a new historical marker.
On the surface, the cemetery is a place of reflection and peace.
To Phyllis Bridges, the 1,250 people buried at Greenhill have stories waiting to be told.
“What did they do to contribute to the community?” Bridges said. “If we don’t tell those stories, we’ll never know.”
As one of High Point’s local historians, her mission to uncover buried history started in 2019.
“We realized we had a lot of local historical landmarks in the area of Washington Street, so we thought it would be a good idea to create an African American Heritage Trail,” Bridges said.
Greenhill is one of 12 stops and is the fourth to be officially marked.
The other three are Oakwood Cemetery, the John Coltrane House and Washington Terrace Park.
“Once we dug in and started looking, it gave us a bigger picture of who were part of the African American community in High Point. What did they do in the community to help build and grow?” Bridges said.
Stories of Black businesswomen and men like John Kilby, who owned the former Kilby Hotel on Washington Street, are nestled in Greenhill.
Doctors, teachers, preachers and 210 veterans from World War I to Vietnam are all waiting to be rediscovered.
Bridges calls it a who’s who of bBlack High Point.
“A lot of our records have been deleted, our records misprinted. The dates are wrong. We need to know that,” Bridges said.
She wants to bring in a group of interns dedicated to researching and publishing their stories, making sure the younger generation knows their past to steer the city in the right direction in the future.
“That’s where you learn where you came from. That’s where you learn who your people are,” Bridges said. “There’s so much to be proud of when it comes to our history.”
The marker placing ceremony for Greenhill Cemetery is at 11 a.m. Saturday along RC Baldwin Avenue.
Bridges says there’s another marker in the works for First Baptist Church later this year.