Local activists allege hundreds of ‘missing African American burial plots’

Local activists allege hundreds of ‘missing African American burial plots’
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 11:14 PM EDT
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CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) - Metro Atlanta families allege plots of loved ones are ‘missing’ after a reburial project set for completion six years ago.

Along West Lee Mill Road sits private plant Luck Stone Quarry. A part of its property was once home to a century’s worth of Black burials, recalls Reverend Joseph Wheeler.

“This used to be the Union Bethel AME Church and cemetery,” he said outside the plant. Adding, “even dating back to 1850, yes.”

Wheeler says enslaved families were also among the nearly 1,000 cemetery plots back then. But now, 343 of them are at the center of new monthly protests.

The Clayton and Henry County Chapter of National Action Network (NAN) is accusing the property owners of not following through on a plan to move all the burials 10 minutes away to Carver Memorial Gardens.

“History matters, family matters, to pass on knowledge and legacy of your people to your children, to your grandchildren, our cemeteries are important,” said Wheeler, who is also the Vice President of the local NAN chapter.

Officials over the project confirmed in previous years it would take place in phases from 2009 to 2016.

Adding, the process was completed with the placing of the bench and plaque in their honor. But Wheeler alleges, as of present day, families have asked but not received evidence of 343 remains being re-buried there.

“To desecrate the graves and to give no account for it is to pour salt in the wound.”

NAN plans to take legal steps claiming management has gone silent. CBS46 made multiple attempts Friday for comment with the company and office management at Carver Memorial. But we are still awaiting an official statement.

“We will be protesting every month until we have a meeting with them or until we take other action,” said Wheeler.