Status: Preserved; renovation in progress

Location: Along the 1400 block of South Parkway East, Memphis

Built: 1873

Architectural Style: Cemetery

Original Function/Purpose: Cemetery

Zion Cemetery was placed on the National Register on Feb. 23, 1990.

History: After the Civil War, Black Americans organized a fraternal benevolent association called the United Sons of Zion. They purchased 16 acres outside city limits for use as a cemetery. This cemetery was active primarily between 1876 and 1925 and is the oldest Black cemetery in Memphis. It possibly holds the remains of an estimated 30,000 Black Memphians from the nineteenth through the twentieth centuries, spanning Reconstruction, yellow fever epidemics, World War I, and the Jim Crow era. The cemetery is the burial site of the three Black merchants, Thomas Moss, William Stewart, and Calvin McDowell, the 1892 lynching victims whose deaths ignited the anti-lynching crusade of Ida B. Wells. The Zion Community Project, Inc. is now working on a volunteer basis to clean up and restore this important landmark.


Map of the cemetery used in its National Register nomination.


City Council District: 4

Super District: 8

County Commission District: 8