George Ricks was brought to this country in 1846 from Liberia to Jamestown, Virginia. He was sold as a slave to Abraham Ricks. He became the first Black land owner in North Alabama by planting cotton on Saturday evenings and picking it by the moon light. Of the 53 acres he purchased, he gave three acres as a cemetery near The Oakes east of Tuscumbia to bury former Black slaves of the community.
Unique to the cemetery are the handmade headstones of concrete. Names and date of birth and death were carved into the wet concrete. A few graves still don’t have headstones, and the name tags long gone. A couple of children’s graves from 2008 are marked with half of a concrete block.
Several of the older headstones the person buried does not have a date of birth, only date of death.
Photography by Mary Carton