Toni Morrison Society Places New Marker to Remember Dr. King

Apr 10, 2018

Dr. Stutman, Dr. Denard and Michael Julian Bond at the cemetery

Courtesy: Dr. Craig Stutman. From left: Delaware Valley University Assistant Professor of History and Public Policy and Bench By The Road Project Co-Chair Dr. Craig Stutman, Bench By The Road Project Co-Chair Dr. Carolyn Denard, and Atlanta City-Councilman Michael Julian Bond, who has family buried at the cemetery.  

Dr. Craig Stutman, a Delaware Valley University assistant professor of history and public policy, traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, on April 7 to help the Toni Morrison Society dedicate a new Bench by the Road at South-View Cemetery where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was originally buried. The bench honors the cemetery’s significance in Dr. King’s story and also remembers those interred at South-View including: Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, Alonzo Franklin Herndon, Horace Mann Bond, Mattiwilda Dobbs, Jean Childs Young, Walt Bellamy, and Julian Bond.

Dr. Stutman, who specializes in the history of race and ethnicity in the United States, has worked with the Toni Morrison Society to place markers all over the world that tell important stories from African American and African Diaspora history. He is a co-chair of the Toni Morrison Society’s Bench By The Road Project, a public history project. Placing this new bench in Atlanta was an experience that he will never forget. 

“It was a humbling experience to be able to be part of a project to memorialize the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and so many of the other distinguished residents who have been buried at South-View Cemetery,” said Dr. Stutman. 

The Toni Morrison Society and the Historic South-View Preservation Foundation partnered to place the new bench and plaque to remember the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s death and also to honor the many important historical figures who are buried there. The Bench is the Toni Morrison Society’s 23rd marker. 

Dr. King was originally buried at South-View before being moved to his final resting place at The King Center. Dr. King’s parents were laid to rest in the cemetery and are still there. Established in 1886 by Jacob McKinley, George W. Graham, Robert Grant, Charles H. Morgan, John Render and Albert Watts, the cemetery was created to provide a beautiful resting place for members of Atlanta's African American community. 

Dr. Stutman will continue his work with the Toni Morrison Society and looks forward to placing more markers. In May, he will moderate a Toni Morrison Society roundtable entitled, “The Work of a Literary Artist and the Work of Public History and Remembrance,” at the American Literature Association’s 29th Annual Conference in San Francisco.” Dr. Stutman and Dr. Carolyn Denard will lead the discussion.