Community uncovers African-American cemetery overgrown with brush

Historic church nearly restored

ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - A historic cemetery in Rock Hill has gone unnoticed for years because of thick, overgrown brush covering dozens of headstones.

After four months of community involvement, you can see all of the headstones again.

More than 200 volunteers from the City of Rock Hill, Comporium, Rock Hill Council of Neighborhoods, Winthrop, churches and other organizations joined forces to clean-up the Lincoln Memorial Cemetery.

It’s located on Flint Street Extension. The headstones show burials beginning at the turn of the 20th century to as recently as the 1960s.

A historic cemetery in Rock Hill has gone unnoticed for years because of thick, overgrown brush covering dozens of headstones. (Photo courtesy Barbara Stephenson)
A historic cemetery in Rock Hill has gone unnoticed for years because of thick, overgrown brush covering dozens of headstones. (Photo courtesy Barbara Stephenson)

“To our knowledge it is an all African American cemetery,” President of the Rock Hill Council of Neighborhoods Aubrey Smith said.

Smith says a woman who lives in the neighborhood called a year ago to ask for help cleaning the cemetery up. City leaders couldn’t find any records of who owned the property.

It became a community effort to revive it. Smith says they don’t plan to let it go again.

“If we could get it cleaned up, then the city felt they could legally take it over and keep it up thereafter,” Smith said.

Once the cemetery is cleaned up, the city plans to research more on who is buried there. Recently revealed headstones show World War I veterans and Civil Rights activists are among those buried at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery.

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