Helping Hand Cemetery’s 125th anniversary event set for May 28

Published 11:27 pm Thursday, May 19, 2022

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The Helping Hand Cemetery Club is welcoming community members to Courtland on Saturday, May 28, to learn more about the connections between the Helping Hand Cemetery and Courtland’s historic African American community.

Ann Chinn

The occasion May 28 will be the cemetery’s 125th anniversary ceremony, which will feature the HHC Club’s “Telling Their Stories” Project.

“‘Telling Their Stories’ has been Helping Hand Cemetery Club’s project for the last two years,” Club Board of Trustees President Alton Darden said. “We set out to connect the early African American community with those interred in the Helping Hand Cemetery. We are thrilled that our cemetery is now designated as an official historical site.”

There will be three guest speakers at the anniversary ceremony: Ann Chinn, executive director of the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project; Lynette Allston, chief of the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia; and Elwood Cephus Stith, Southampton County genealogist and local historian.

Lynette Allston

The 125 anniversary event will begin at Rawls Museum Arts, which is located at 22376 Linden St. in Courtland. This event will be there from 9 a.m.-noon before moving to the cemetery.

From noon-1 p.m. will be a tour of the Helping Hand Cemetery, which is located at 21448 Main St. (Route 35) in Courtland.

Elwood Cephus Stith

Then, an anniversary meet and greet luncheon will take place from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Courtland Community Center, which is located at 25499 Florence St. in Courtland.

The 125th anniversary event is presented by the Helping Hand Cemetery Club Board of Trustees and sponsored by Virginia Humanities, the 400 Years Commission and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

There will be limited space available for the event, so those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by sending an email to

COVID-19 safety precautions will be followed.

For more information on the event, contact Darden via email at