Red River Sankofa Historical Society

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Cemetery Preservation

    What are we doing about it?
    Cemetery Preservation Project in Belcher, Louisiana

    Cemetery Preservation in Belcher, Louisiana

    Stage of usage:
    1. Abandoned
    2. Inactive but revered historic cemetery
    3. Active historic cemetery with a modest number of  burials per year 

    4. Highly active historic cemetery with modern  upgrades
    5. Highly active Lawn-Parks or Memorial Parks of the  20th century
    Current Status:
    - Lake Zion (formerly Green Cemetery) stage of usage: 3
    - Ebenezar Baptist Church Cemetery stage of usage: 2
    - Hettie Adger/St. Paul CME Church Cemetery, stage of usage: 2

    In order to began the process of preservation we have developed stages of improvement to help facilitate the process in a comprehensive, orderly fashion. The first goal will consist of data gathering and documentation as top priority and serves as the greatest avenue to educate the public on the condition of the designated cemeteries. The data gathering will also help to create an inventory of individuals buried available on this website. Additionally we will begin making assessments of the current condition of the identified cemetery and usage so that we can establish appropriate levels of rehabilitation and improvement. Lastly we will plan appropriate long term maintenance goals and identification of resources to fund improvement. All three of the cemeteries designated have been a unanimously high priority. The items below should be completed within a year which will create a completion goal of May 2010.

    Additionally we will establish and designate priority levels to make sure we are staying on track with goals and progress.

    PRIORITY LEVEL: HIGH (correct within 1 year)
    Focus: Public safety; structural and landscape stability; protection of significant features

    -Remove litter, debris, graffiti
    -Remove weeds, ivy, volunteer trees, fallen trees
    -Prune overgrown bushes, plants
    -Refill sink holes, depressions, eroded areas, drainage
    -Repair primary roads and paths
    -Secure fencing, gates, steps
    -Secure mausoleums, crypts, box markers to prevent entry by people or animals
    -Label and remove pieces of broken markers for later repairs
    -Install lighting against vandalism

    PRIORITY LEVEL: MEDIUM (correct within 5 years)
    Focus: Security issues; repairs to prevent accelerated deterioration; repairs to enhance appearance, accessibility, or circulation; interpretation begins

    -Lawn and planting rehabilitation
    -Cyclical tree pruning
    -Repair secondary roads and paths
    -Building repairs or rehabilitation
    -Resetting or repinning critical fallen grave markers

    PRIORITY LEVEL: LOW (delay up to 5 years)
    Focus: Cosmetic repairs or additions to the landscape or buildings

    -Repairs or cleaning of critical monuments; reopen tertiary roads or paths; -Signage and advanced interpretation
    -Restore or replace missing elements of the landscape or cemetery features
    -Repair critical broken monuments, mausoleums, or walls
    -Continue to improve interpretation with brochure, map, web site

Adopted from the Preservation Planning for Historical Grounds and Cemeteries Guidelines in the state of Pennsylvania.

What's next?

We are in the midst of launching an initiative to began raising the necessary funds through a non-profit organization designated to restore our African American ancestral burial grounds in NW Louisiana and NE Texas. We are looking to partner with individuals who would like to donate towards the restoration of individual or multiple plots. We are also looking to partner with faith-based organizations already associated with designated graveyards in hopes of planting maintenance, repair and preservation seed monies to facilitate the restoration process. If you are interested in donating, collaborating or simply volunteering, please contact us at More announcements towards this initiative will be forthcoming soon.

Hettie Adger/St. Paul Cemetery in Belcher, LA

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