Piney Grove Cemetery is a historic African American burial ground in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. The cemetery’s founding dates back to the 1800s and has over 300 burials, some of which are believed to be burials for enslaved individuals. The cemetery has unique characteristics including irregular burial patterns, a variety of hewn and native gravestones and terraced landscaping. The cemetery also contains numerous unmarked burials. Piney Grove Cemetery is one of the last vestiges of the several African American communities that once thrived in the area including Piney Grove, Lynwood Park, Bagley Park, Johnsontown, and Armour.
In the early 2000s, a residential developer acquired the property and sought to remove the cemetery to develop the land. After opposition by the descendants, the land was sold to a commercial developer with conditions for access and maintenance as part of City of Atlanta zoning conditions. Ultimately, a condominium complex was built adjacent to the cemetery.
Despite zoning conditions and state law requiring the condominium homeowner’s association to allow descendants and members of the public to use and enjoy the cemetery, in the view of the Friends of Piney Grove Cemetery, the homeowner’s association has never complied with the obligation to maintain the historic Piney Grove Cemetery and this has resulted in the cemetery’s current dire condition. Instead, the property has become overgrown and inaccessible with damage to headstones from falling trees, vegetation and trash. Piney Grove Cemetery is a direct link to a time in Georgia when enslaved individuals were forced to toil in fields and homes. Piney Grove Cemetery serves as an important marker for Atlanta’s history, and its preservation is essential to the city’s cultural fabric.
For more information, please visit www.pineygrovecemetery.com