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John N. Smith Cemetery: Dillon Epp, property manager, Orton Plantation; Judy Gordon; Gordon Walker, restoration project co-leader; and Lena Tobler

The John N. Smith Cemetery today announced a $14,500 grant from The Orton Foundation, the North Carolina affiliate of Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation. Established in 1880, this African American Cemetery is located on Leonard Street in Southport, North Carolina. Preservation of the Cemetery has deep historical and spiritual significance for the Southport community. The grant will enable the Cemetery to install a new perimeter fence around the property.

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John N. Smith Cemetery

“Thanks to the timely and generous support of The Orton Foundation we are moving further down the road of success,” said Judy Gordon, President of the John N. Smith Cemetery’s Board of Directors.

“Beyond its financial value, The Orton Foundation’s contribution will raise the credibility and visibility of our renovation and preservation efforts,” said Gordon Walker, a spokesperson for the Cemetery’s Board of Directors.

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John N. Smith Cemetery tombstone

Preservation activities include cleaning and repairing headstones, locating and posting unmarked gravesites, and landscaping improvements. The Board of Directors is also designing programs about the important contributions earlier African Americans made to the cultural, social and economic prosperity of Southport. Volunteers are currently gathering documentation about African American veterans dating back to the Civil War and have found business owners, educators, longshoremen and other local noteworthy persons interned in the Cemetery.

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Louis Bacon. Photo Credit: Yann Dandois

“We are proud partners of the John N. Smith Cemetery as they work to preserve one of Southport’s most important cultural monuments,” said Louis Bacon, Founder and Chairman of The Moore Charitable Foundation and its affiliate foundations.

President Judy Gordon remarked, “We are blessed to have the dedication of numerous loyal volunteers and financial contributors. Continued charitable acts will fulfill our aspiration to sustain the John N. Smith Cemetery as a respected part of Southport’s history and future.”

To learn more about the Cemetery visit their new website at

About the John N. Smith Cemetery
John N. Smith Cemetery was established in 1880 when the trustees of an African American Methodist Church purchased a two-acre tract of land to make it a grave yard. Today the Cemetery is the site of more than 800 interments; many who have contributed to the culture, history and quality of life in Southport.

About Louis Bacon
Louis Bacon is a conservation philanthropist and Founder and Chairman of The Moore Charitable Foundation, Inc. (“MCF”) and its affiliates, including The Orton Foundation. Mr. Bacon has spent more than two decades conserving threatened habitat, protecting open spaces, and safeguarding clean water through the support of more than 200 local, national, and international organizations. He was also instrumental in the founding of the Waterkeeper Alliance.

About The Orton Foundation
The Orton Foundation, the North Carolina affiliate of Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation, supports conservation nonprofits that focus on protecting threatened landscapes, habitats and water bodies. The Orton Foundation also supports educational and community programs in the region.