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Patriots Unite to Save Crumbling African-American Cemetery

BROOKSVILLE – Whether you served in the military or not there are some things that remain sacred to most Americans; the symbol of our great nation, the American Flag, and the men and women who fought to protect our sovereignty. To a veteran, the color of one’s skin has no relevance and that credence was exemplified today at the African-American Spring Hill Cemetery, where dozens gathered to help restore the dilapidated place of final rest.

The nearly 4-acre cemetery is located at 8580 Fort Dade Ave and is nestled between Spanish moss laden, century old oak trees, ostensibly standing guard over hundreds of war veterans and their families. We spoke to Alyce Walker, the cemetery’s trustee since 1993, who pointed at an old oak tree and said “That’s where they lynched Rev. Abe Tillman.” Walker, now 88, says “Over 330 people are rest here and we even had a funeral here yesterday.”

Korean War Veteran, Pastor Marvin “Mac” T. McCarthy led dozens of those who volunteered today in prayer and said “…the reason we are all here is because God is here…” Speaking on his own military service McCarthy said “I don’t know why I made, but as long as I have a voice, I’m going to give God all the glory.”

Volunteer Cathy Pokol belongs to an organization called Chicks in the Wind and says they helped with donations and brought some of the headstones that were in ruins, sinking, and dirty, back to a more presentable condition.  Home Depot provided lumber, concrete, and other hardware needed to complete some of the restoration at no charge, according to Pokol.

Tony Williams, President of Veterans Counseling Veterans says he and his wife drove from MacDill to help with the project, after seeing the event on Facebook. Williams says “…that’s why we’re here… It’s not about color or anything else; it’s about taking care of veterans.”

Volunteers levelled a dirt road circling the grounds, removed weeds, downed trees, and even raised a new flag pole at the entrance to the cemetery.

Even with fears of future mining looming over the cemetery, volunteers made no mention of the issue or the political dissonance surrounding controversy.

There was only one thing on people’s minds today and that was restoring honor to those whose final resting place was at risk of being forgotten.

Effort to complete the restoration will start again next weekend.

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  • There is no confederate cemetery

    Wednesday, 22 April 2015, 11:46 am
    • But there are Cemeteries with Confederate Soldiers remains in them locally. Those of us that have lived in the area for a while know about the Confederate grave site across from the Spring Hill Cemetery.

      Wednesday, 22 April 2015, 2:03 pm
  • the cemetery is located up on fort Dade in Brooksville for anyone wanting to help out this sunday april 28th

    Tuesday, 21 April 2015, 1:22 pm
  • Gives you a good feeling inside to help and give back….it was our pleasure

    Tuesday, 21 April 2015, 10:04 am
  • Video from yesterday – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohu2X1hNe9I

    Monday, 20 April 2015, 5:46 pm
  • THIS is true community service. Thanks Tom for doing the work local media won`t do. See you next week.

    Monday, 20 April 2015, 5:12 pm
  • where is this civil war cemetery you speak of? @HippieNanna

    Monday, 20 April 2015, 2:23 pm
  • I really wish this clean-up effort had been publicized. My husband and I both wanted to be a part of restoring this beautiful, historic site.
    Please let me know if there will be more work done…and we will be at the County Commission meeting on the 28th.

    Monday, 20 April 2015, 2:07 pm
    • This event was in the RNRF event calendar and spread all over many local face book Pages. This was even on the Tampa/St. Pete area local news. However, you have not missed your chance because we are doing it all over again this Sunday April 26, 2015. Starting at 10 a.m. and most likely the following Sunday also. So there are still plenty of chances to get in on the fun. Hope to see some new smiling faces out there.

      Monday, 20 April 2015, 4:31 pm
  • The owner of the old spring hill, not a civil war cemetery , will not allow it to be cleaned.

    Monday, 20 April 2015, 1:45 pm
  • Yeah well it’s too bad that someone doesn’t take the time to clean up the Civil War veterans cemetery across the street that you cannot find because it’s buried under garbage

    Monday, 20 April 2015, 10:21 am
  • Kudos’s to the community coming together for that cemetery. It was long over due. May the souls buried there smile down on you.

    Monday, 20 April 2015, 9:09 am
  • For anyone wanting to help. We will be doing it all again on April 26, 2015. Starting time is 10 am and quitting time appears to be when most of us can’t hardly lift our arms. You can also visit the events page here on RNRF for more information.

    Monday, 20 April 2015, 8:28 am
  • GREAT PEOPLE doing what is right with no fanfare.

    Monday, 20 April 2015, 8:03 am
  • How can I help?

    Monday, 20 April 2015, 7:43 am
  • me and my father were one of the people there, it was a honor to clear cut the grass and clean up around the graves for our vets, next sunday we will be back out there for more

    Monday, 20 April 2015, 1:00 am
  • Absolutely wonderful, wish I had been here this weekend, I so would have been there to help!

    Sunday, 19 April 2015, 8:17 pm
    • GOD bless all the people that came together to do this!

      Sunday, 19 April 2015, 11:10 pm

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