The land for Newtown Cemetery was purchased in 1868 for burial of local African-Americans. This is the only black cemetery in Harrisonburg. It is located in the historic 'Newtown' section of town that was the early settlement of freed slaves, now known as the Northeast Neighborhood.
There are over 600 graves here, including Lucy F. Simms, former slave and beloved teacher who dedicated 55 years of her life to teaching, primarily in the segregated Effinger Street School. Elon W. Rhodes, the first black to serve on the City Council and the City School Board, is buried here. Malinda Rice and her mother Martha are buried here. She was the mistress of General John Robert Jones and the mother of his children, who he publicly acknowledged and supported.
Efforts are being made to get this cemetery on the National Historic Register.