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Zion Memorial Gardens - Birmingham, AL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member hummerstation
N 33° 35.415 W 086° 43.404
16S E 525665 N 3716759
Quick Description: Zion Memorial Gardens Historical Marker, Birmingham, AL
Location: Alabama, United States
Date Posted: 12/21/2011 7:54:41 PM
Waymark Code: WMDBWA
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Thorny1
Views: 4

Long Description:
Historical marker located in the historic Zion Memorial Gardens Cemetery wich is located on the Tarrant-Huffman Road. The marker mostly tells the story of Dr. A. G. Gaston and his efforts to provide a burial place and burial insurance for African Americans. Where the marker says, "Zion Memorial Gardens consists of forty acres of land and contains approximately 300,000 gravesites.", it really means the cemetery has space fo that many graves. The marker was placed by the Booker T. Washington Insurance Company, Inc.
Marker Name: Zion Memorial Gardens

Marker Type: Urban

Addtional Information::
Mt. Zion Baptist Church began burying here in the mid-1800s. On June 2, 1970, New Grace Hill Cemetery, Inc., a subsidiary of the Booker T. Washington Insurance Company in Birmingham purchased this cemetery and officially named it Zion Memorial Gardens. Dr. A. G. Gaston (1892-1996) organized the Booker T. Washington Burial Society in 1923, responding to the lack of burial insurance available to African Americans. Gaston believed, “a proper burial is of immense importance…it’s the very least you can do for a man.” Gaston incorporated the Booker T. Washington Insurance Company in 1932, which eventually became the largest African American owned insurance company in Alabama. Born in rural Marengo County, Alabama, as the grandson of former slaves, Arthur George Gaston was a trailblazer in the struggle for economic, business, and community development for African Americans in the twentieth century. Some of his numerous ventures included the Booker T. Washington Business College, Citizen’s Federal Savings Bank, A. G. Gaston Construction Company, WENN Radio, A. G. Gaston Home for Senior Citizens, Vulcan Realty and Investment Corporation, and Smith-Gaston Funeral Home. Dr. Gaston dedicated himself to improving the lives of young African Americans through his work with the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, and Boy Scouts. During the Civil Rights Movement, the A. G. Gaston Motel in downtown Birmingham became the headquarters for Dr. Martin Luther King, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, and other prominent Civil Rights leaders. Dr. Gaston is interred in the mausoleum here. Zion Memorial Gardens consists of forty acres of land and contains approximately 300,000 gravesites. Three acres are reserved as the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Cemetery. Listed in the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register

Date Dedicated / Placed: 2006

Marker Number: None

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