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Volunteers to tackle church cleanup
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The Graves Chapel Cemetery will receive a much needed facelift Monday when Hands on Newton hosts a cleanup of the historic cemetery.

Doug Bolton, director of Hands on Newton, said he expects more than 150 volunteers to participate in the event including relatives of those buried in the cemetery, church members, Boy Scouts and students from Oxford and Georgia Perimeter colleges.

"We are trying to cross as many divides as we can," Bolton said. "This will be a multiracial, multicultural and multigenerational event."

 The cemetery was established around 1800 when slaves from the Graves Plantation were buried in the lot, Bolton said. The cleanup was planned as a way to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day while also giving back to the community.

"It is not only important to clean up the cemetery, but also to, in the process, bring the community together while also educating students," Bolton said.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., volunteers will help clear away years of wild plant growth including several trees and bushes. After the cleanup, lunch will be served and the volunteers will be split into smalls groups. Several historians and special speakers will then mingle between the groups and lecture about the site's history as well as MLK day.

 "A number of people will be there discussing Martin Luther King Jr. and what his impact was as well as slavery and how far we have come since that point and what we can expect in the future," Bolton said.

Anyone interested in helping out is welcome to attend.

Bolton recommends volunteers bring work tools and dressing in warm clothing.

The cemetery is located off U.S. Highway 278 just past Dixie Road.

For exact directions, please call Bolton at (770)330-7405.