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A.J. Morton Funeral Home Historical Marker

  • 117 East 8th Street
  • Columbia, TN 38401
  • Overview

    In 1891, former slave J.M. Morton established the first undertaking business to serve African Americans in Maury County. Known later as A.J. Morton & Sons Funeral Home, descendants of Morton owned and operated the business for almost 100 years. Located in the center of the African American business district, this funeral home was vandalized during the 1946 Columbia Race Riot. Owner James E. Morton was charged as an accessory before the fact, in connection with the riot, but was acquitted. This incident was the first major post World War II racial incident in the state which demonstrated African American's willingness to openly oppose de jure (mandated by law) segregation.