Reviving History

Naper Settlement has been awarded a grant from the City’s SECA fund to help restore the gravestone of Sybil Dunbar, Naperville’s first known African-American female resident.

Through the research at the Settlement, the team has found that Sybil Dunbar lived in Naperville around 1860 and was buried at Naperville Cemetery in 1868, a rare occurrence for an African-American woman during that time.

“In the 1960’s and 70’s Naperville had a history of being discriminating and that African-American’s were not allowed to purchase homes, and it’s ironic that this whole time there’s an African-American buried in the cemetery next to everybody,” said Bryan Ogg, Curator at Naper Settlement.

The Settlement hopes to continue their research on Sybil and find out more about other families who were close to her during her time in Naperville.

The gravestone is set to be restored and installed on May 28.

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