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A Strong Rebuke for the Neglect of Fairview Cemetery

I do not know exactly how Fairview Cemetery (300 Holman Street, Greenwood, SC) fell from the consciousness of the community. This is a perfect example of what can happen when preserving history no longer remains a high priority. We will need the support of the whole community to resurrect this cemetery.

I have made plenty sojourns to cemeteries to locate the graves of family members. I have never found one in such poor condition. This cemetery is in a neighborhood and is right next to an apartment complex. People throw trash along the road in front of the cemetery on a daily basis, and no one from the neighborhood has taken it upon themselves to make an attempt to cut back the overgrowth.

In preparation for the cleanup, I went door to door to invite people to come to help. They only gave lip service. All the volunteers came from outside the neighborhood on the day of the cleanup. I would hope that if I did not have family members buried here, I would still feel charged to do my part.

Members and Rev. Furman Miller of Weston Chapel AME have shown support by attending meetings and coming out to the first cleanup on May 3st. One member even brought her daughter to help, but where is the rest of the African American community? We know other churches buried members here. We have discovered over ten ministers buried here so far.

At one point in history, African Americans had no place to lay their loved ones to rest. Surely maintaining this cemetery would be high on the list of our ancestor's priorities. We need people to donate labor and money to clean and keep this cemetery maintained.

With over 500 people buried in Fairview Cemetery, there should be a countless number of descendants living in the area or in other states who could pool together to provide assistance. The majority of people who have helped so far are not African American, and that is okay because this has been a great opportunity to show that this community is willing to come together to accomplish this without regard for skin color. My concern is this: How much do African Americans care about their dead? Do we even care about honoring the legacy of people who sacrificed so much for us? They broke their backs for us so that we may have the comforts we enjoy today.

I hope that more get on board soon. This is our history that we stand to lose. We have already lost too much in this cemetery.

The views expressed here are solely my own and that of no one else --- Robin Foster

To learn more see Fairview Cemetery.

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