The Friends of the African Union Church
Cemetery was established in 1996 to restore and preserve
this historic cemetery owned by the Mt. Salem Union AME
The Friend's primary mission is to
preserve and share the rich history of the cemetery with
the general public, from children through adults. The cemetery,
part of one of the first free black communities in Delaware,
includes the burials of five United States Colored Troops
who fought bravely during the Civil War. Critical to this
mission is to ensure that the site will be intact and accessible
for future generations.
Purely by accident the cemetery was
rediscovered over twenty years ago by a few adventurous
children who discovered a tombstone amidst the marsh phragmites.
Oral histories of Delaware City residents recall a time
when the erosion of the canal bank caused some of the burials
to literally fall into the canal.
The Friends group teaches the heritage
of the African-American community in Delaware City, and
in particular educates about the contribution of local African-American
soldiers to the Union's efforts in the Civil War.