Last weekend, we went with our small group from IBC to Memphis, TN to help clean up Zion Cemetary, the oldest African American cemetary in a city rich with history.

The historical marker at the site reads:
Zion Cemetary, comprising 15 acres, was established in 1876 by the United Sons of Zion Association, a group of former slaves who responded to the need for a respectable burial site for African Americans. It is the final resting place for many outstanding citizens. Including Georgia Patton Washington (1864-1900), who was one of the first female African American physicians, and Thomas F. Cassels (1850-1903), who was Assistant Attorney General of Shelby County and a member of the Tennessee General Assembly.

You’re probably wondering, “Why Memphis and why this cemetary?” Well, one of the couples in our group, Gene and Jill, are good friends with a couple of people who started/planted/founded/whatever you want to call it, Fellowship Bible Church of Memphis. Fellowship, along with other civic groups in Memphis, has been actively involved in recruiting volunteers and groups to help clean up the cemetary. They pitched the idea to Gene, Gene pitched the idea to us and we were in. You should check out the church’s web site. They’ve got a cool vision: racial reconciliation in a city that desperately needs it.

While we were there we also went to Sun Studio and B.B. King’s Blues Club on Beale Street.

Here is a Google Earth satellite image of Zion Cemetary. That big cluster of trees in the middle of the picture is what remains to be cleared. The baseball field to the left gives you an idea of the scale of the project.

More pictures from the trip…

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3 thoughts on “Memphis”

  1. Looks like a great time… I sent you email since this comment thingy wouldn’t come up awhile ago. I am sure yall did a great job!!!

  2. Wow! Great project and great goals for Fellowship. An African American director at Campbell Soup, whose family had greatly enjoyed Paris, said that he had never experienced racial prejudice like that which existed in Memphis when he moved there. Of course, things could be greatly improved in Paris, Tx…Mom Swasko
    PS – The pics with both of you in them were the best! You cleaned up quite well, also! Can hardly wait to see/hear Cheesy Puff and the Stoics…

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