A few years ago, I discovered that my great-great-grandmother Narcis Pinkard (1864-1934) was buried in Porterdale Cemetery in Columbus, Ga. This cemetery is also the final resting place of quite a few notable black Georgians. Among them:
- Gertrude “Ma Rainey” Pridgett (1886-1939): nicknamed the Mother of the Blu
es, Ma Rainey was one of the first blues singers to record music. She got her start by performing in live vaudeville shows and went on to record with jazz legend Louis Armstrong and noted bandleader Tommy Dorsey. She eventually returned to her hometown of Columbus, where she ran three theaters and served as a church musician.
- Rev. Primus King (1900-1986): a Baptist minister and civil rights leader whose 1944 lawsuit protesting Georgia’s all-white primary resulted in all citizen being granted the right to register and vote.
- Alfonso Biggs (1904-2003): a master chef who cooked for three U.S. presidents– Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower.
My great-great grandmother is likely buried in an unmarked grave; the record from the funeral home indicates she was buried at Porterdale, but an online search of her grave’s location didn’t reveal anything.