Mt. Zion Baptist Church began burying here in the mid-1800s. On June 2, 1970, New Grace Hill Cemetery, Inc., a subsidiary of the Booker T. Washington Insurance Company in Birmingham, purchased this cemetery and officially named it Zion Memorial Gardens. Dr. A. G. Gaston (1892-1996) organized the Booker T. Washington Burial Society in 1923, responding to the lack of burial insurance available to African Americans. Gaston believed, "a proper funeral is of immense importance?.it's the very least you can do for a man." Gaston incorporated the Booker T. Washington Insurance Company in 1932, which eventually became the largest African American owned insurance company in Alabama. Born in rural Marengo County, Alabama, as the grandson of former slaves, Arthur George Gaston was a trailblazer in the struggle for economic, business, and community development for African Americans in the twentieth century. Some of his
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numerous ventures included the Booker T. Washington Business College, Citizens Federal Savings Bank, A. G. Gaston Construction Company, WENN Radio, A. G. Gaston Home for Senior Citizens, Vulcan Realty and Investment Corporation, and Smith-Gaston Funeral Home. Dr. Gaston dedicated himself to improving the lives of young African Americans through his work with the Boy's and Girl's Club, YMCA, and Boy Scouts. During the Civil Rights Movement, the A. G. Gaston Motel in downtown Birmingham became the headquarters for Dr. Martin Luther King, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, and other prominent Civil Rights leaders. Dr. Gaston is interred in the mausoleum here. Zion Memorial Gardens consists of forty acres of land and contains approximately 300,000 gravesites. Three acres are reserved as the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Cemetery.
Listed in the Alabama Historic Cemetery RegisterMarker erected in 2006 by the Booker T. Washington Insurance Company, Inc.