Lebanon Cemetery celebrating 150-year anniversary with community events

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

As the historically Black Lebanon Cemetery approaches its 150th anniversary, North York borough made a special proclamation during Tuesday night's meeting.

Mayor Nancy Brunk declared the week of Aug. 21 through Aug. 27 as Friends of Lebanon Cemetery week. 

"We encourage all residents to support their efforts," Brunk said, adding that she urges for people to join in the celebration events happening in August.

From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, for instance, a cleanup and preservation event is scheduled at Lebanon Cemetery, located at 1412 N. George St. 

Volunteers are encouraged to dress for working outdoors and bring water. Friends of Lebanon Cemetery will also have information available for people to help find the graves of their loved ones.

The historic cemetery is making a comeback after it was overrun with weeds and disappearing grave markers. For many York County residents — family is buried at the cemetery — making upkeep of the site personal and important.

Many notable Black York County residents are also buried at Lebanon Cemetery, including the son of the prominent abolitionist William Goodridge, and Mary J. Small, who in 1898 became the first woman to become a church elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion tradition.

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Samantha Dorm, who accepted Mayor Brunk's proclamation Tuesday night, has six generations of family members buried in the cemetery. 

"We thank you for working with us," Dorm said. "We try to make sure that it continues to be a place where we can honor our loved ones with dignity and respect."

Later in August, Friends of Lebanon Cemetery will be hosting a 150th Anniversary Celebration. The event is slated from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 27 at 401 S. Queen St.

The celebration will feature keynote speakers, presentations of "certificates of appreciation" and light refreshments, according to the Facebook event. 

Earlier that day, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., walking tours will be offered at Lebanon Cemetery.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto. 

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