EKU Danville and Richmond Students Start Restoration

EKU Danville and Richmond Students Start Restoration

In the fall of 2015, before EKU students and the Central Kentucky African American Cemetery Association began working on the abandoned African American cemetery at White Oak in Garrard County, the property was covered with huge vines and littered with downed, rotting trees. Most headstones were completely covered with vines or knocked over from trees fallen in ice storms of recent years. The remote location of the cemetery made it difficult to access.

                                            

Now the students’ work is starting to become visible and is making the recovery of headstones much easier.           

The White Oak African American Cemetery is located just off of Route 27 on 152 in northern Garrard County. Some of the earliest burials in this cemetery started in the late 1880s, and there are several Civil War headstones that honor members of the U.S. Colored Troops.

Prior to the students’ work on the cemetery, only about 70 burials had been identified in this cemetery, but as of March 2016, volunteers have identified nearly 100.

One of the unique features of this historic cemetery is the wide variety of headstones. Many beautiful ones are commercially produced but individually designed, such as this one from the 1950s. Others are home-made like this one with a single sea shell embedded above the name of the deceased. 

                                                                 

On Saturday, March 26, eleven volunteers worked at White Oak to cut and remove trees and vines.

The four students shown in the photo here are from instructor Gwen Graham’s African American Studies class at EKU Richmond. They are teaming up to cut down a tree in the cemetery. From left to right, they are Murtaja Alhumidi, Mohammad Al-Shaban, Muhamad Almahroos, and Mohamed Shuiab, all from Saudia Arabia.

                                                                

Shown below are two of the “After” photos from Saturday’s work.

                                                            

 

AFA student Brian Morrison also helped early in the day at the White Oak Cemetery. 

Published on April 01, 2016

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