National Register of Historic Places

Greenville’s Live Oak Cemetery Added to National Register of Historic Places

Live Oak Cemetery in Greenville was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 2, 2023. The National Register of Historic Places was established by Congress in 1966 to help identify and protect historically significant properties. It is administered in Mississippi by the Department of Archives and History. 

Live Oak Cemetery is among the largest and oldest Black cemeteries in Mississippi and was, during Greenville’s most prosperous decades, the town’s only burial site for African Americans.  Between circa 1850 and 1969, more than seven hundred people were buried there. One of the most notable burials was Holt Collier (1848-1936), a former enslaved person, soldier and master hunting and tracking guide. Collier served as the guide in 1902 for President Theodore Roosevelt in Sharkey County when Roosevelt famously refused to shoot a black bear tethered to a tree by Collier during the hunt. News accounts of the president’s sportsmanship led to the creation of the world-famous toy, the “Teddy Bear.” 

Also interred at Live Oak are Reverend. E.W. Lampton, Mississippi’s first Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and John W. Strauther, a local banker, business owner, and civic leader, as well as eighty-three veterans from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Graves of Civil War veterans include those of the U.S. Colored Infantry and U.S. Colored Cavalry.  

“We are grateful to the National Park Service for recognizing the historical significance of Live Oak Cemetery,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “We also thank the many local people who have worked over the years to preserve and maintain this site that is so central to Greenville’s African American culture and history.” 

For more information call 601-576-6850, or email



Unita Blackwell Property Added to National Register of Historic Places

The Unita Blackwell Property, the property of the first African American woman in the state elected to the office of mayor, has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The United States Secretary of the Interior approved the addition upon the recommendation of the Mississippi National Register Review Board.

“I am ecstatic about this news. I am humbled that the family matriarch is being honored in this fashion,” said the son of Blackwell, Jeremiah Blackwell Jr.

The Unita Blackwell Property consists of the Freedom House, the Ranch House, and the neighbor’s shotgun house.

The Freedom House was Blackwell’s primary residence and was used to host numerous civil rights meetings between the years of 1964-1970. The Freedom House hosted many groups associated with the Civil Rights Movement as well such as the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The Ranch House was added for its association to Blackwell’s productive life during her career as mayor of Mayersville, and its use for political work sessions and meetings during her Mayorship. Lastly, the neighbor’s shotgun house was add for its architectural significance and association to the civil rights leader.

The Lighthouse | Black Girl Projects wrote the nomination for the Unita Blackwell property and will work to operate the site as a community center in the future.

"We are thrilled to have played a role in the first steps toward institutionalizing the legacy of the Honorable Unita Blackwell, by having her former home named to the National Registry. The next steps for us is building a museum worthy of her name and her comrades," said president and founder Natalie Collier. "Such a space will not only be a gathering space in Mayersville, but will also remind the Mississippi Delta, Mississippians and beyond of the dignity, tenacity and charm of a Black woman who succeeded in “Barefootin’” her way to personal, civil and humanitarian freedom. Ms. Unita has long-since been a point of personal inspiration, so I’m grateful her son, Jeremiah, worked with us to achieve this milestone."

“Unita Blackwell was an amazing local leader and trailblazer. Her story is one that everyone should know,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “I am so glad her property is being preserved for future generations.”

The National Register of Historic Places was established by Congress in 1966 to help identify and protect historically significant properties. National Register properties enrich our understanding of local, state, and national history by representing significant events and developments, the contributions of notable people, and important types of buildings and architectural styles. National Register listing can also help preserve these important properties through tax benefits, grant assistance, and protection from demolition or development.

National Register listing does not restrict a private owner's use of the property, unless development of the property involves federal funding, federal rehabilitation tax credits, or participation in some other federal program. There are no requirements for public accessibility, and information about sensitive sites can be restricted from the public.

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