The tour takes about 45 minutes. Our guides will share with you ...
The Slave Quarters
Cross the threshold into a time when people were treated as property, their very humanity taken from them. As you enter the place they called home, notice the faces that stare back at you. How did they endure under such conditions? Imagine they are speaking to you now. What would they say?
This circa 1850 slave quarters was renovated and moved from its original location on the site of the antebellum Meadows farm, now the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Neuse Blvd. in New Bern. JCHS spent 10 years and thousands of dollars to restore this historical treasure, one of the few freestanding slave quarters remaining in Eastern North Carolina.
Honor the people who are buried in this land, many of whom labored over it in bondage. For almost 70 years, freedmen buried their families and loved ones at this site. Their identities were erased when bulldozers scraped the site clean of their tombstones in 1941.
The JCHS erected this monument to the unknown dead in 2003, inscribed with a verse by Thomas Gray:
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire; Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd, Or wak'd to ecstasy the living lyre.
The Far Cemetery
Pause for a few moments of quiet introspection as you acknowledge the hallowed ground upon which you stand.
It was revealed through an archaeological investigation that 522 graves - about half belonging to children under the age of 13 - exist beneath this plot of land. There is also strong evidence in the undergrowth that more bodies are yet to be uncovered in the pine forest on this site.
The cemetery was razed by the military to build a temporary military base during WWII. All the grave markers were loaded onto trucks and reburied in parts unknown. A few pieces of stone markers and a partial but legible tombstone are all that remain.