The granite arch in the above photograph reads, “A memorial to the unknown slaves of Valdosta in recognition of their sacrifices and contributions to our community.”
The granite marker (see above) behind the arch quotes Exodus 21:16, “And he that stealeth a man and selleth him of if he be found in his hand, he shall sorely be put to death.”
After the Civil War, Valdosta was occupied by Union soldiers, including the 103rd Colored Infantry who was stationed in Valdosta in 1865 [3, 4]. They were garrisoned on the corner of West Hill Avenue and South Patterson Street. Some of the soldiers came back to Valdosta to live and are buried in Sunset Hill Cemetery . Behind the memorial are markers dedicated to four of these African American soldiers who are also buried in the cemetery in unmarked graves. According to a February 24, 1995, Valdosta Daily Times article, there are six African American soldiers buried here, and plans were to have a total of six markers as soon as funding was available .
The markers read (left to right):
- Federal, Pvt. Ray Edward, 8th Inf., Co. F, USCT, Died Feb. 20th, Wound received in action at Olustee, Prisoner of War;
- Pvt. J. Fry Otterbrien, 21st PA. Cav., Co. L, Died May 6, 1903;
- Pvt. George Hendrick, Died Nov. 2, 1865, Occupation of Valdosta, GA. 1865-1866;
- Pvt. Jim Wade, 103rd Inf., Co. G, USCT, Died May 17, 1865, Occupation of Valdosta, GA. 1865-1866.
To visit the Unknown Slaves Memorial at Sunset Hill Cemetery, enter the main cemetery entrance off of Oak Street (see lower right on the map below) and follow the right fork until you reach the road labeled West Street on the map. The memorial is just beyond this intersection (labeled Slave Cemetery just below Section P on the map below).
 Dean Poling, “Slaves to be honored,” The Valdosta Daily Times, February 24, 1996.
 Rex Gambill, “Slaves honored Sunday,” The Valdosta Daily Times, February 26, 1996.
 See footnote 2 above.
 Lowell Vickers Jr., “Memorial service to honor slaves,” The Valdosta Daily Times, February 24, 1995.
 Albert S. Pendleton, Jr. and Susan McKey Thomas. In Search of the Hollidays: The Story of Doc Holliday and His Holliday and McKey Families. Line drawings by Earle Sinclair McKey, III (Valdosta, Georgia: Little River Press, 1973.), 33. (This book was reprinted by Lowndes County Historical Society [LCHS], Valdosta, Georgia, in 2008 and is available at the LCHS museum at 305 W. Central Ave.]
 See footnote 4 above.
 See footnote 4 above.