GEORGIA CEMETERY & NEIGHBORHOOD
Beginning in 2019, TVAR worked with Huntsville Hospital and its community partners to bring the story of the local Georgia Cemetery and surrounding neighborhood to light. Established as a burial ground in 1818, the Georgia Cemetery served the Huntsville African American community until the early twentieth century. Newspaper accounts indicate that removal of burials began in the early 1920s by local civic organizations; however, no surviving documents recount the locations of their reinternments. Ownership of the land containing the cemetery transferred to the hospital in the mid-1920s, and current work centers on identifying any remaining evidence of historic burials. Around the cemetery, the Georgia neighborhood was a thriving African American community with schools, churches, businesses, and homes. The urban renewal efforts of the 1960s cleared much of the neighborhood, giving rise to much of the medical district of today.
**Note: all photos provided by Old Huntsville, Inc. through the Monroe Collection. The deed image is between LeRoy Pope and the Town of Huntsville Madison County Deed Book G, page 183 located at the Madison County Courthouse.
CENTRAL DRAINAGE DISTRICT OF OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
In Mississippi, TVAR sifted through court records to better understand an early, and now abandoned, canal system within Oktibbeha County. Early settlers near the Trim Cane Creek area utilized the waterway adjoining their plantations to transport cotton to Mobile by way of flooded creek waters. Throughout the mid-to late-nineteenth century, slave labor cleared the creek and moved flat boats loaded with cotton up the creek to the Tombigbee River. In 1912, however, landowners along low-lying portions of the creek came together to officially form the Central Drainage District of Oktibbeha County, Mississippi. Although canal districts were not uncommon in flood prone areas, most relied upon federal funds for construction and maintenance. The Central Drainage District instead employed private and county funds to control flooding and increase crop yields. In its final state, the canal drained approximately 10,791 acres at a total estimated cost of $65,000. County documents pertaining to the Central Drainage District of Oktibbeha County no longer surface after 1974; yet, the physical transformation of the Trim Cane Creek remains.