The graves on the "New Guinea Settelment" land at the corner of Plympton Street adn Bishops Highway remained unmarked and unnoticed for nearly 200 years, until 1975 when a group of Plymouth residents led by Marjorie E. Anderson and Plymouth's Bi-Centennial Advisory Committee on Black History and Culture began working on improving the small cemetery where several black men, slaves and Revolutionary War soldiers, are buried.
Four young men, Plato Turner, Prince Goodwin, Quamany Quash, and Cato Howe, African-Americans from Plymouth, served in the American Revolution. The first two were former slaves until they were amancipated before the Revolutionary Way. Quash wasn't emanipated until after his military service and Howe was most likey a freeman who was never enslaved.
Following the war, the town of Plymouth granted these men acreage near the Kingston border, in an area known as Parting Ways. Howe, Turner, Goodwin and Quash - with their families - established a settlement there known as the New Guinea Settlement.
For the past 35 years, Parting Ways, The Museum of Afro-American Ethnohistory, has worked to improve and dignify the cemetery and ensure the cemetery receives the recognition they feel it deserves.
Today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, museum directors and town leaders will dedicate a new sign for the cemetery that explains the importance of the site where a group of former slaves and their families made their homes after receiving their freedom in post-Revolution America.
"The site never had an official interpretive historic sign that includes the bio and history of the site and the Afro-American veterens," Lynda Thomas-LeGay, the former president of Parting Ways, said. "The sign, as well as cooperation with the Plymouth County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Destination Plymouth, has satisfied a lot of the Parting Ways goals."
The small ceremony will be held today at 2 p.m. at the Parting Ways Cemetery site, off Route 80 in Plymouth.
"It is a celebration as well as a thank you to the faithful and positive members and supporters, past and present. A 'Dream Realized'," LeGay said.