Gravesites damaged at historic cemetery in Harris County

Updated: Feb. 3, 2021 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. (WTVM) - A historic African American cemetery in Harris County is getting new attention.

Descendants of those buried in the cemetery on Pierce Chapel Road say it’s heartbreaking and upsetting to see the state of the cemetery with broken gravestones and trash, and even an easement built right overtop of graves.

They say based on their research and what an archeologist who studied the cemetery said, it was part of a plantation where slaves and their descendants are buried. They want this cemetery to be recognized and cleaned up, and designated as a historic site. The descendants want their ancestors to be honored and given respect.

More than two dozen descendants have teamed up, but they’re asking for community support.

“What we would like to see is to have that cable line removed from the cemetery,” said Yamona Pierce. “We hope that no further destruction and desecration would take place.”

“Make this place whole so that would certainly help in our healing for generations to come,” Dr. J. Aleem Hud.

“Just trying to get the word out because we know there are more descendants than just us,” said Patricia Phillips.

The descendants say a company built an easement and drove over and destroyed several graves.

According to the attorneys hired by the descendants, it is illegal in Georgia to knowingly disturb cemetery or burial grounds. They say they’re investigating to determine what else can be done to restore and protect the historic cemetery.

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