For Georgia Gives Day we’re trying to raise $15,000 to fund the critical restoration of markers, monuments and headstones are broken, leaning, or otherwise in danger of being irreparably damaged. Will you help us reach our goal?
Born into slavery around 1830, Jacob McKinley prospered in post-Civil War Atlanta and was known for his industry and integrity. He owned a brickyard, a grocery store, and a large amount of real estate and at times employed over 150 laborers. Jacob McKinley helped establish the South-View Cemetery Association in 1886. In 1890 McKinley and other investors established the Georgia Real Estate Loan and Trust Company which provided much-needed business financing for its African American customers.
McKinley died in 1896. His obituary in the Atlanta Constitution described his wealth and philanthropy and lamented the loss of a good citizen. His headstone, a pedestal-style monument composed of multiple units of marble stacked one on top of another, is located in Oakland’s African American Grounds. After more than a hundred years this monument was leaning significantly and needed to be stabilized right away. Thanks to critical restoration funds, the PRO team stepped in immediately to pour a new base and stabilize the monument before it fell. McKinley’s contributions to Atlanta endure today, and thanks to the PRO Team’s quick action, so does his monument.
As this story shows, sometimes restoration just can’t wait. After more than a century and a half, there are many markers, monuments, and headstones also in real danger of being irreparably damaged or causing harm to visitors or other structures within the cemetery. Oakland’s Critical Restoration Fund gives the restoration team the ability to make emergency repairs that preserve both their integrity as a historic resource and the stories of the Atlantans buried there.