Historic Gadsden cemetery erects new headstones for veterans

Veterans' grave markers restored at Southern Hills Cemetery

GADSDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - Volunteers restoring a historic Black cemetery in Gadsden say they were able to restore nearly two dozen tombstones of veterans buried there.

Southern Hills Cemetery, located near the Martin Wildlife Park, is one of Gadsden’s oldest African American cemeteries. It is the final resting place to a former slave, a lynching victim named Bunk Richardson and a number of war veterans. Many of them appear to be World War I veterans.

Chari Bostick, whose group, the Grace Heritage Foundation oversees the cemetery, says repairing and replacing broken and vandalized headstones has always been a priority, even to the point of contacting the Veterans Affairs in Washington to research the warfighters buried there.

“We had a two year process trying to get all the information about each of the soldiers to submit to the Veterans Affairs in Washington,” Bostick said.

The cemetery had fallen into neglect in recent decades before it was listed on the National Historic Register in 2013.

Bostick and other volunteers come out on Sunday mornings as they continue to clear and restore the cemetery.

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