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Saving Cemeteries, Preserving Stories, Building Community

All across East Tennessee, historic Black cemeteries that were established in the post-Civil War era are being reclaimed and rediscovered.  Many communities and individuals struggle to find the right people and resources to maintain neglected cemeteries.  The Cemetery Preservation Panel will showcase case studies and best practices for establishing cemetery groups, working with volunteers to cleanup cemeteries, creating events to promote awareness about the cemeteries, and getting young people involved with historic cemeteries.  The panel is being organized and directed by Ethiel Garlington of the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance. He will be working with individual panel members prior to the conference to guide them toward a coherent presentation that focuses on the humanities side of cemetery preservation.  Shirley Carr Clowney of Maryville will the extensive work she had done in Blount County to preserve and reclaim African American cemeteries across the county.  Alix Dempster will speak about Old Gray Cemetery’s role as a heritage tourism destination.  Stephen Scruggs and Dr. Katherine Ambroziak will speak about their grass-root efforts to involve the community and university in rehabilitating Odd Fellows Cemetery and Potters Field, two African American cemeteries in East Knoxville. Ms. Randi Nott will discuss the very successful restoration of New Hope Cemetery in Greeneville through a creative ongoing partnership with local Master Gardeners and research done by students at Tusculum College.

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