DARLINGTON, S.C. – The Darlington community is designating a day to clean up one of its historic cemeteries. Darlington Memorial Cemetery Association has organized a community cleanup day beginning at 6 a.m. Saturday at the cemetery on D Avenue.
Volunteers are asked to bring gloves, string trimmers, chainsaws, lawnmowers or trailers if they have them. Gatorade, water and hot dogs will be provided.
“We are asking all the sororities, fraternities, Masons, Eastern Stars, Elks, veterans, Shriners, Mayo High School alumni and graduates, and especially those with family members buried there to come out and donate some time to help restore the cemetery,” said Darlington City Council member Sheila Baccus.
She has been assisting the association as it tries to rejuvenate this historic site in Darlington.
The late-19th-century African-American cemetery, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, served as the only African-American cemetery within the city limits of Darlington until 1946, according to Baccus. Macedonia Baptist Church, Bethel AME Church and St. James Methodist Church put together 16 acres over the years, beginning with just five acres in 1890.
One of the oldest and largest private burial sites in the Pee Dee region, the Darlington City Cemetery, as it is also known, contains 1,900 interments both marked and unmarked, according to the association.
In 2009, the city of Darlington worked with this organization and the S.C. Department of Archives and History to create a master plan for the cemetery. The city continues to look for grants to enact this plan.
According to the association, the cemetery has several prominent figures buried on site, including religious leaders, public servants and educators. That includes the Rev. Isaac P. Brockenton, James Lawrence Cain, Edmund H. Deas, Lawrence Reese and Dr. Mable K. Howard. Among the buried are veterans from the Confederate States of America Army, the Spanish American War, World War I and II, Korean War and Vietnam War.
The organization also is soliciting donations to fund the continuing maintenance needs of the property. Make donations payable to the Darlington Memorial Cemetery.
For information or questions, contact Baccus at 843-307-2287 or email@example.com.