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Paris NAACP seeks volunteers to help clean abandoned cemeteries

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Three historic African-American cemeteries in Paris have been neglected and need maintenance.

In Lamar County, the Paris Chapter of the NAACP is looking for volunteers to help take care of negelected historic cemeteries. The Paris News reports the local NAACP’s Abandoned Black Cemetery Association plans several upcoming work days devoted to the cleaning of one of the three known abandoned cemeteries in Paris. Work days of Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29 have been set aside to clean the Greenwood/Baptist Cemetery located in the 800 block of West Center Street.

Thelma Dangerfield of the Lamar County Genealogy Society and spokeswoman for the Abandoned Black Cemetery Association told The Paris News that almost 600 graves can be found in the three cemeteries, which over the years have become neglected. Greenwood/Baptist Cemetery is the site of more than 300 graves. Benevolent Cemetery on Center Street at the end of 14th Street Northeast, has 199 graves, while Cedar Hill Cemetery on NW Loop 286, has 73 graves. Those buried on the properties include Civil War and World War I veterans along with many members of the Green, Clement and Bray families. Anyone interested in helping or learning more can contact the Paris NAACP or the Lamar County Genealogy Society.