Cemetery gets much needed makeover

March 8, 2009 8:32:36 AM PDT
An African-American cemetery in Fort Bend County, home to many veterans who served in World War I, is getting a much needed makeover.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The cleanup has been years in the making and is bringing together church members from several different places of worship.

Just outside Richmond, in what seems like the middle of nowhere, lies a sacred place that time has forgotten until now.

"It's history and we have to preserve history," said Pastor Robert Delgado.

Hidden beneath the branches and overgrown vegetation is an old African-American cemetery. It is still being used today, but remains in serious disrepair. On this day, a small army of church volunteers from the Richmond and the Rosenberg area are pitching in to save it.

"I think it's wonderful to see the black church, the white church and the Hispanic church come together," said volunteer Theodore Johnson.

For Sherman McDonald, the cleanup holds special meaning. Four generations of his family are buried there.

"My mother, father, brother, my grandparents, great grandparents, it's a family cemetery," he said.

The motto here today is to restore and preserve. It's very tedious work. Volunteers are doing their best to be careful so they don't want to disturb any of the graves.

Rich in history, the Jones Cemetery is the final resting place for a number of veterans including soldiers who fought in World War I. While some of the graves have headstones dating back to the early 1800s, others has nothing at all. Red flags were being used to mark them.

"It's all human history. That's the way we'll understand each other," said Pastor Delgado.

It's a mission to preserve the past in hopes that the future generations will one day reflect back and have a greater appreciation of its history.

The pastor of the nearby All Nations Worship Center says he inherited the cemetery when he bought his church about ten years ago. Once the cleanup is complete, the goal is to maintain the cemetery for visitors and family members who have loved ones buried there.

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