Sunday, February 26, 2012

Are there any African Americans in Mayberry?

This was the question that my husband's cousin had once posed. She had done a Google search and discovered that there had been extras in some episodes of the Andy Griffith Show...but that was it.

So, I decided to do a search for myself and this is what I found. Larry Cebula wrote a post on his Northwest History blog entitled,
Why come there ain't no black people in Mayberry?

While Cebula mixes satire with real history, a family history visit to Mount Airy, North Carolina might present some...let's say...interesting...encounters. 
(Explanation to follow.)

The aforementioned post contains a link to a series of photos which point out African American extras from the Andy Griffith Show....seen, but not heard. 

During the course of conversation, I had relayed to our cousin that on our last visit, we had inquired of an Historical Society member at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History how we could locate the grave sites of those family members whose death certificates and obituaries I had found. We were told to go to the mortuary listed on the certificate. 
"They have maps of all the cemeteries in town," we were informed. 
Walking through the door of the funeral home with my husband following, I encounter a feeling I had never experienced before...a certain tension in the air, which my husband could not distinguish. A group of men were talking in the back corner of the room behind a counter, and I interjected, "Excuse me, gentlemen. I was told at the museum that you had maps to all the cemeteries in town."
"Oh, yes. We have maps. Which cemetery are you looking for?"
 "Two, actually...West End and Mountain View."
The men looked back and forth at each other, quietly asking one another about it, and then the spokesman for the group said,
"No. We only have the maps for the white cemeteries. You'd have to go to ----- Funeral Home for maps of the black cemeteries."
"Well, can you tell me how to get to these cemeteries?" I asked.
 "No, you'll have to talk to them. They could tell you, I'm sure."
Since we were there on a day trip and the time was slipping away, we decided to wait until our next visit to find that funeral home to make an inquiry. But, as it turned out, we didn't need to make a stop there because on this visit, our cousin unveiled the mystery...

As it turns out, West End and Mountain View Cemeteries are one in the same. They had been called two different things at two different points in time. She took us on a tour of Mountain View Cemetery, which is located just down the street from where the family had settled.

Now I could tell why she wanted to take her truck instead of having us follow her in our car. The entrance and exit of the cemetery is situated on very rough and rocky terrain. But there, close to the front of the lot was our family connection's gravestone.

2nd Cousins reunited "after one hundred years"...
No, there are no more centenarians in the family that I'm aware of. These cousins descend from common ancestors, Isaac and Martha Ann (George) Carter: from two brothers, Grandpa "Lousha" and Grandpa Hezekiah Carter.
Cousins reunited at last!
We hope to have many more visits together as we become 
better acquainted and work together 
to solve the puzzle that is our bond of shared family history.


  1. Several times I have eagerly looked at a genealogy book that has the term "all" expecting to find my people, not to find them included. I don't have a problem with researchers transcribing information for a specific group, just don't label it as "all" when it is not inclusive.

  2. What a wonderful and interesting trip and discovery about the cemetery. Sounds like you made some great connections!

  3. That is awesome that you were able to make family connections. Sounds like a productive trip.