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16 markers were disturbed in a historic Black North Carolina cemetery

More than a dozen gravestones were either broken or toppled in a historic Black cemetery in North Carolina where the oldest headstone is said to date back more than 170 years, officials said.

It’s not clear when or why the Dixonville Cemetery was vandalized, but Dixonville-Lincoln Memorial Task Force Chair Emily Perry said it was heartbreaking to see vandalism affecting a project she has worked on for 11 years, the Salisbury Post reported.

The vandalism was discovered as Perry and communications staff with the city of Salisbury drove to the cemetery on Wednesday to film videos for Black History Month.

One of the city’s oldest Black cemeteries, Dixonville Cemetery was deeded to the city of Salisbury in 1874. There are more than 500 documented burials that have occurred at the Dixonville site since 1914. However, many took before there was official record-keeping and are unmarked. The oldest existing headstone in Dixonville Cemetery dates to 1851.

Since 2010, a task force has worked to identify those names and connections for a three-phase project. The Dixonville community was located on the east side of Salisbury and was affected by urban renewal in the 1960s.

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