African American Cemetery Committee continues efforts to revitalize Marion Avenue Cemetery

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HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) – The African American Cemetery Committee continued its efforts to revitalize the Marion Avenue Cemetery during a meeting at Hartsville City Hall Monday afternoon.

One of the attendees, Willie Williams, has been heavily involved in the project since the city started looking at cleaning the cemetery up in 2015.

For Williams, restoring the Marion Avenue Cemetery means restoring the memory of his mother.

“My concern is that my mom’s there and I use to come home from New Jersey and I would see the place continue growing and getting worse,” he said.

The Marion Avenue Cemetery dates back to the early 1900s. Since the 1980s, it has been abandoned and the burial grounds have overgrown with weeds, bushes and leaves.

So far, committee members have found a little over 100 marked graves, but there may be hundreds of more that are unmarked. One of them is the grave of Williams’ mother.

“I’m hoping for some kind of memorial, some kind of board, plaque or something to put that will list all the unmarked grave so to speak,” he said.

But even with the meetings and suggestions, Williams believes the revitalization of the cemetery will not be possible without the community’s support.

“A cemetery is a very important situation that the neighborhood and the community should respect,” Williams said. “As long as I’m able, to I’m going to be involved and try and help get this done, but we do need help from the community.”

So far, the committee has raised $5,000 of its $10,000 goal. The funds will go toward cemetery maintenance once it has been restored. The committee hopes to begin clearing out the cemetery in December.

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