Richland Cemetery

Hilly St. and Sunflower St., Greenville, South Carolina


Photo taken by Michael Miller in December 2020



Street View 


Richland Cemetery played an important role in the development of a distinct, self-sustaining African American community in downtown Greenville. The cemetery is significant as the final resting place for many of Greenville’s most notable African American educators, health practitioners, and community leaders. The cemetery features a variety of funerary art, landscape features, and cultural artifacts which distinguish it as a traditional African American cemetery and provide important information about ethnic burial customs in the American South. Richland Cemetery was established by the City of Greenville in January 1884 as the first municipal “colored” cemetery. It is named for nearby Richland Creek, a branch of the Reedy River. The cemetery occupies approximately six acres on a small hill northeast of downtown Greenville, in a traditionally African American area known as the Greenline-Spartanburg neighborhood. Family plots within the cemetery are defined by stone, brick, and concrete block borders. Gravemarker types and materials range from natural stones to elaborate Victorian monuments. Manufactured funerary art includes monoliths, engraved tablets, ledgers, and ornamental stones. Symbolic images are found throughout the cemetery. Gravel covers the ground of some graves. Artifacts peculiar to West African burial traditions like seashells, vases and iron pipes are present around many of the graves. The total number of graves is estimated at over 1400. Listed in the National Register October 4, 2005. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 4, 2005
Reference number
Areas of significance
Community Planning and Development; Ethnic Heritage - Black
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Periods of significance
1875-1899; 1900-1924; 1925-1949; 1950-1974
Significant year

Update Log 

  • January 8, 2021: New photos from Michael Miller
  • September 15, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Street View", Corrected "GPS Coordinates" and Imported Photo
  • September 15, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller