Friends of Maple Grove help families reconnect with ancestors in historic cemetery
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As you drive into Richmond, you’ll see flags raised on either side downtown.
“I think everyone has a story.”
And when you keep driving just a little further, you’ll find a cemetery full of them.
“It’s everyone’s history. Not just black history. But it’s American history. And we just want to share it with everyone else,” said the President of the Friends of Maple Grove Cemetery Judy Greene-Baker.
That’s exactly what Judy Greene-Baker and Effie Fields are doing at Maple Grove Cemetery Monday. Along with nine other volunteers, they’ve taken it upon themselves to document the time between each person’s birthdate and their death date, telling the stories of their lives.
“Mr. Walker here is Tuskegee Airmen Pilot. He has a Gold Congressional Medal of Honor,” Greene-Baker said.
Judy and Effie grew up in Madison County. Their families helped fight for integration. Judy is a retired colonel herself. And over the past four years, they’ve culminated biographies for every person buried in the historic African American cemetery.
“Those stories need to be told. Now days, our young people don’t understand their identities. They’re looking for their identities. This way, we can let them know they come from a rich heritage,” said Fields.
Like Kara Stone, who served in the Women’s Army Corps and became the first African American teacher at Eastern Kentucky University. All of the stories, all of the accomplishments, right here in the hands of the ‘Friends of Maple Grove’.
“People are wanting to come back and tell their children about their ancestors. Maybe they couldn’t or their grand parents are deceased. But now they can come, look through the materials they researched, then go and share it in their schools or anywhere. And say this is the history of my fore fathers,” Fields said.
The Friends of Maple Grove is donations and grant funded. They also offer walking tours for anyone interested in learning more.
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