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John N. Smith Cemetery was established in 1880 when the trustees of an African American Methodist Church in Smithville (Southport) purchased a two acre tract of land for the sole purpose of making it a grave yard. An additional acre was added later.

The cemetery committee made up of representatives from five local black churches sold burial plots to the community at large. The cemetery was kept and maintained by the committee.

In later years the cemetery was used as the site of Memorial Day Commemorations and grave plots were cleaned and decorated with red, white and blue arrangements for the occasion.

The John N. Smith cemetery is the site of more than 800 interments; many who have contributed to the historical and current quality of life of Southport.

Gordon Walker, co-leader of effort to restore the John N. Smith Cemetery in Southport, walks the 3 acre parcel in downtown Southport.