Lane Street Project: Rocky Mount’s Unity Cemetery.

Let’s circle on back around to Rocky Mount.

This “Unity Cemetery Update,” which can be found at the city-hosted website,, issued from the City Manager’s office. It offers a model for progressive, responsive governance.

There’s a brief history and significance of the cemetery.

On the next page, which is oddly titled, we learn that Rocky Mount does not own Unity Cemetery. It is a private cemetery that may (or may not) be regarded under the law as abandoned. They estimate that it holds one thousand plots per each of its 18 acres. At present, descendants are responsible for maintenance of plots. (Thus, Unity is more like Odd Fellows and Rountree than Vick, which has always been a publicly owned space.)

The next slide details the City of Rocky Mount’s previous work to restore Unity.

Then, highlights of anticipated steps needed to clarify past and establish future ownership of the cemetery.

And a multi-part recommendation for actions to be carried out over the next several years. When the City of Wilson gets to point of creating a plan for Vick Cemetery — and I am speaking this into existence — Unity’s model could offer ideas worth exploring or emulating.

Obviously, Unity is in a very different position than Vick, which needs no title searches, hand thinning, or road repair, but I am awestruck by the difference generous funding could make for Wilson’s historic African-American cemetery.

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