Passed Unanimously March 17, 2020
In March the Atlanta City Council officially recognized Buckhead Heritage as the caretaker of Mt Olive Cemetery on Pharr Road. The council had previously taken this action on Harmony Grove Cemetery on West Paces Ferry Rd. This resolution was the result of the efforts of board members Tamara Bazzle and Elon Osby, with help from Councilman Howard Shook and Sally Silver. Buckhead Heritage has been helping legally protect this cemetery and maintain it with help from Atlanta International School, Arbormedics and the community for a number of years.
WHEREAS, the Mt. Olive Cemetery is located at 431 Pharr Road, and has a total of at least 45 marked and unmarked burial sites: and
WHEREAS, the cemetery was established next to the Mt. Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the church was formed by newly freed slaves and existed as early as 1870; and
WHEREAS, in 1921, developer John Owens laid out a formal subdivision called Macedonia Park for the African American residents who established neighborhood businesses, worked on the nearby farms or performed domestic service for Buckhead’s affluent white residents; and
WHEREAS, Macedonia Park eventually became a thriving community with over 400 residents, three churches, two grocery stores, barber shops and restaurants; and
WHEREAS, between 1945 and 1953, Fulton County acquired all the homes in Macedonia Park through coercive negotiation or eminent domain to make way for a public park, which was originally called Bagley Park and is now called Frankie Allen Park; and
WHEREAS, the Mt. Olive Cemetery, which contains the graves of residents of Macedonia Park and worshipers at Mt. Olive AME Church, is the only remaining physical evidence of the community of Macedonia Park; and
WHEREAS, in 2005, TRC Garrow Associates, Inc., delineated the boundaries of the cemetery and conducted an archaeological investigation utilizing ground-penetrating radar identifying 45 features that represent graves; and
WHEREAS, on October 29, 2010 Fulton County Superior Court found no disputed question of material fact that the cemetery, which served the surrounding African American communities, was dedicated for public use; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 36-72-3, the City of Atlanta has the authority to designate an organization to care for a cemetery that is not being maintained by the person(s) legally responsible for its upkeep; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA that the City acknowledges that the Buckhead Heritage Society has been and intends to continue to maintain, clean and cut the grass, and prune the shrubs and trees located in the historically significant Mt. Olive Cemetery on a volunteer basis, and intends to continue providing landscaping and other such services.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City’s acknowledgement and participation with respect to this effort shall be at no cost to the City.