African Americans established the community of Newtown in this area after the Civil War, In 1869 five trustees purchased land here for a cemetery open to "all persons of color." By 1920 the cemetery had expanded three times to accommodate Harrisonburg's growing African American population. Among the nearly 1,000 burials, some unmarked, are Civil War-era United States Colored Troops and veterans of World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Also interred here are Harrisonburg's first African American city council member and several noted educators, including Lucy F. Simms. The cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.