Over two weekends in October, visitors to Oakland Cemetery gave big to help restore the final resting place of a trailblazing Atlanta woman, Dr. Beatrice Thompson. Dr. Thompson was a featured resident during the annual Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours, and tour attendees donated over $7,500 to help restore her headstone as well as the headstone of her sister Estella Henderson.
Dr. Beatrice Thompson is buried in Oakland Cemetery’s African American Grounds, which comprises 3.5 of Oakland’s 48 acres. Dr. Thompson graduated from medical school in 1901 before setting up a practice in Athens, Georgia —a rare accomplishment at the time for a woman, much less a woman of color. During her lifetime Dr. Thompson championed fellow entrepreneurs and invested in Athens’ first African American-owned pharmacy.
Dr. Thompson’s sister Estella, is buried next to her and was similarly accomplished. Estella Henderson was a lawyer and professor at Atlanta’s Morris Brown College.
Historic Oakland Foundation saw an unprecedented outpouring of support for Dr. Thompson and her sister. In 2015 visitors donated over $2,400 to erect a headstone for William Jasper “The Goat Man” Franklin, and in 2013 over $2,000 was raised for madam Abbie Howard to get a headstone.
Any overage not used for repairing the Thompson lot will be used to further the restoration of the African American Grounds, one of HOF’s upcoming large-scale restoration projects in 2017.
To contribute to the African American Grounds restoration project, click here and select “African American Grounds” in the Donation Purpose drop-down menu.