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Push to clean up historic cemeteries

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Updated: 5/01/2013 6:26 pm
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.-- It might look like a jungle, but believe it or not, it's the final resting place for a number of generations.

"Back here, very bleak," Reginald James said.

Pinehurst and San Sebastián cemeteries are nestled off Pearl Street in West St. Augustine. World War I vets, railroad workers and many others were buried there at a time when blacks had to be segregated, even in the grave. The tombstones date back at least 100 years, but lately, things have been a mess.

We found trash, broken glass and toppled grave markers all over the property.

"Heard several times in the past that different associations may have looked into it as far as this stuff, but it doesn't look like that has come about," James continued.

The frustrating part for some is that affluent Evergreen Cemetery is less than 100 yards away. 

In an effort to restore dignity to Pinehurst and San Sebastian, volunteers are heading up a movement to clean up the grounds. The goal is to get everything finished by July 2, 2014: The 50th anniversary of the signing of The Civil Rights Act of 1964.

James, who has lived across the street for decades, couldn't be happier. 

"One person or two people shouldn't come spend all their time here. It takes the effort of everyone."

To find out how you can volunteer or donate hedge trimmers and supplies, email: Raisethedeadst.augustine@hotmail.com.
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