GULFPORT, FL (WFLA) – It’s hard to see what’s become of Lincoln Cemetery for the Green family. It’s a predominantly African-American graveyard, with tombstones dating back to the 1920s.
“It was all grown over. Grass grown all over them and you couldn’t, I mean if you didn’t stick your shovel in the ground, you wouldn’t have known a headstone was there,” said Delores Green, who has several family members buried in the cemetery.
The graves are overcome by grass and weeds, and some headstones are cracked. The Greens found help in Vanessa Gray, a Gulfport woman who stumbled upon a pastor’s grave and became inspired to make a difference for all the souls lying here. Grave by grave, she began cleaning.
“I just wonder about their life and you know what they must have been through,” said Gray.
Devonta Green never knew where his great-great-grandfather was buried until he joined Gray for a clean-up one day.
“Yes, he’s right about here and I know because of the broken headstone there,” he said.
The cemetery is also home to hundreds of military veterans. Gray said they deserve more respect.
“They fought for our rights and I can stand up for theirs,” she said.
Devonta Green says the cemetery should look just as respectable as the other cemeteries along 58th Street.
“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side which here this is the perfect example, just across the trail you have royal palm cemetery, grass is green everything is well kept,” he said.
Next clean-up is scheduled for May 24 at 9 a.m.