Groups want to clean up historic African American cemetery - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Groups want to clean up historic African American cemetery

MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

A historic African American cemetery in Murfreesboro has fallen in such a horrible state, with overgrown weeds and brush, it's hard to tell what lies beneath.

The owners can't afford the upkeep, but that could soon change.

For years, Benevolent Cemetery off Church Street in Murfreesboro has been neglected. Some headstones have been toppled, while others have disappeared from sight.

"It's bad. It's really bad," said Murfreesboro resident Henry Summers. "The weeds are taller than this building. You can't see the headstones of the people out there," Summers said.

Summers' grandmother, Bessie Puckett, is buried at Benevolent Cemetery. He said he hopes something is done to preserve the burial ground which dates back to the 1800s.

"It's in really bad condition," he said. "I would love to see it be taken care of, because they were loyal citizens in Murfreesboro for a long time."

Several homeless people have set up a camp at the site and could possibly be sleeping right on top of unmarked graves.

"That is desecration," said historian Dr. George Smith. "We know there are over 350 grave sites out there, and some of those grave sites are being desecrated by people living over them or setting up tents over them."

Part of the cemetery is also filled with trash, beer cans, liquor bottles and other debris.

The cemetery is owned by Allen Chapel AME Church, and church leaders said finances have been the main reason the cemetery hasn't been properly maintained.

The church is under new leadership, and the Rev. Jimmie Plummer said the cemetery is now a top priority.

The church and other community members are in the process of forming the African American Historical Society of Rutherford County.

The plan is to clean up the cemetery and help preserve it, as well as other African American historical sites.

"We're hoping we can sensitize the community in getting some efforts underway," Smith said. "A lot of people have expressed interest in going back and reclaiming this, because a lot of our history is there."

Summers said he's willing to help with the clean up so his grandmother and others there can rest in peace. Last week, city building and codes officials issued a notice to Allen Chapel Church to cut the grass and bring the cemetery into compliance.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Also on KFVS12.comMore>>

  • Heartland NewsMore>>

  • breaking

    Man accused of murder in deadly shooting in Reynolds Co., MO

    Man accused of murder in deadly shooting in Reynolds Co., MO

    Thursday, April 26 2018 1:11 PM EDT2018-04-26 17:11:54 GMT
    One person is facing a murder charge after a death investigation by the sheriff's office and Missouri Highway Patrol is underway in Reynolds County, Mo. (Source: Raycom Media)One person is facing a murder charge after a death investigation by the sheriff's office and Missouri Highway Patrol is underway in Reynolds County, Mo. (Source: Raycom Media)

    One person is facing a murder charge after a death investigation by the sheriff's office and Missouri Highway Patrol is underway in Reynolds County, Mo.

    One person is facing a murder charge after a death investigation by the sheriff's office and Missouri Highway Patrol is underway in Reynolds County, Mo.

  • Judge denies deposition request in Greitens' criminal trial

    Judge denies deposition request in Greitens' criminal trial

    Thursday, April 26 2018 11:50 AM EDT2018-04-26 15:50:43 GMT
    (Source: St. Louis Police Department)(Source: St. Louis Police Department)

    A St. Louis judge has turned down a request from attorneys for Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens to require deposition testimony from the state's former Democratic Party chairman in one of the...

    A St. Louis judge has turned down a request from attorneys for Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens to require deposition testimony from the state's former Democratic Party chairman in one of the governor's two...

  • Short chase results in 2 robbery arrests in Marion, IL

    Short chase results in 2 robbery arrests in Marion, IL

    Thursday, April 26 2018 9:59 AM EDT2018-04-26 13:59:53 GMT
    Two men were arrested on robbery charges (Source: KFVS)Two men were arrested on robbery charges (Source: KFVS)
    Two men were arrested on robbery charges (Source: KFVS)Two men were arrested on robbery charges (Source: KFVS)

    On April 25 around 9:54 p.m. the Marion Police Department responded to a possible armed robbery in progress at Valero Gas on Main St.

    On April 25 around 9:54 p.m. the Marion Police Department responded to a possible armed robbery in progress at Valero Gas on Main St.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

    Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

    Thursday, April 26 2018 2:39 AM EDT2018-04-26 06:39:08 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 12:53 PM EDT2018-04-26 16:53:13 GMT
    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

  • Texas gang member executed for killing girl, grandmother

    Texas gang member executed for killing girl, grandmother

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 12:55 AM EDT2018-04-25 04:55:40 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 1:23 AM EDT2018-04-26 05:23:56 GMT
    (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP). This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Erick Davila. Attorneys for the Texas death row inmate want the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his scheduled execution this week fo...(Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP). This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Erick Davila. Attorneys for the Texas death row inmate want the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his scheduled execution this week fo...
    Attorneys for a condemned Texas prisoner are asking the US Supreme Court to halt his execution for killing a young girl and her grandmother in 2008.
    Attorneys for a condemned Texas prisoner are asking the US Supreme Court to halt his execution for killing a young girl and her grandmother in 2008.
  • Ford shifts gears, will stop making nearly all its passenger cars in North America

    Ford shifts gears, will stop making nearly all its passenger cars in North America

    Thursday, April 26 2018 11:55 AM EDT2018-04-26 15:55:54 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 11:55 AM EDT2018-04-26 15:55:54 GMT
    Over the next few years, the automaker will cut its North America passenger car lineup by more than 80 percent. (Source: Ford Motor Co.)Over the next few years, the automaker will cut its North America passenger car lineup by more than 80 percent. (Source: Ford Motor Co.)

    Over the next few years, the automaker will cut its North America passenger car lineup by more than 80 percent.

    Over the next few years, the automaker will cut its North America passenger car lineup by more than 80 percent.

Powered by Frankly