Volunteers clean up historic Elemerton Cemetery in Hampton


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Volunteers were all hands on deck this memorial day weekend answering call to action to help clean up a historic cemetery.

Several people showed up to give the Elmerton Cemetery in Hampton a facelift after former state delegate Dr. Mary Christian urged people to action.

Whalan McDew, one of the volunteers, said, “It was bad. It was real bad. The weeds were actually taller than I am.”

Another volunteer, Cynthia Evans, said, “When I saw it I didn’t think there was a cemetery in it, and we began to cut and a gravestone showed up and so on and so on. So shocked to see it that bad.”

Volunteers from all over brought out their lawnmowers and weed wackers and got to work. As each bunch of weeds got cut down, the memory of a life appeared. 

The cemetery has been around for centuries, and is the final resting place for many emancipated African American slaves. Volunteers typically maintain it, but the recent rain has made it difficult to keep up.

“To see that they were here so many years ago and then they have been neglected, yea it didn’t feel good to come out here and see this,” said Evans.

But despite the discouraging scene when the cleanup first started, these community members say the end result is well worth the hard work.

“We need to step up as a community, neighborhood and organization to get the things we need done,” said McDew.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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