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Uncovering History at Lincoln Memorial Park (MLK Day 2017)

Brownsville Middle School

“Life’s Most Persistent and Urgent Question is: What are YOU Doing for Others?” 
     - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.                                                                                     

Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a "day on, not a day off."  The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community."  This year’s MLK Day of Service will take place on Monday, January 16th, and HandsOn Miami will lead the charge locally by activating 100 volunteers in service at 4 locations across our Miami-Dade County community during our MLK Weekend Celebration.  

The description that follows is for the "Uncovering History at Lincoln Memorial Park" project site. 

Lincoln Memorial Park is considered to be one of the most important African American cemeteries in Florida.  It was founded by the notable Dr. Kelsey L. Pharr in 1937.  Care of the cemetery was most recently taken over by Ellen Johnson who has recently passed away.
There is no space remaining for new plots which makes it financially unsustainable.  As this happened and Ellen Johnson got older, Lincoln Memorial Cemetery fell into disrepair.

The vision for the future is to restore Lincoln Memorial Park and transform it into a place which can help to highlight the outstanding contributions of the notable Miamians who have been laid to rest there. 

Volunteers will collect trash and debris, remove weeds, and trim back overgrown brush that has covered many of the plots and prevents the natural beauty and significant history of the site to be recognized.  

NEED TO KNOW:

  • You will be volunteering in a cemetery with above-ground coffins.  This may be offputting to some, and we want to be sure you are aware of this prior to your arrival. 
  • Volunteers are encouraged to bring gloves to ensure their hands are protected from the brush and debris we will be clearing.  HandsOn Miami may not be able to provide gloves for all volunteers.
  • Please bring a refillable water bottle to ensure you stay hydrated. 
  • Closed-toe shoes are required for participation in this project.  Those wearing flip-flops or sandals will not be able to participate fully. 
  • We encourage volunteers to wear long pants (jeans or lightweight pants) to cover your legs to prevent irritation from the brush and weeds we will be clearing. 
  • This is a great opportunity for volunteers of all ages to join in!  Volunteers aged 16 and older can participate on their own.  Those under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.  To register a volunteer under the age of 16, please email Darrill@HandsOnMiami.org

Sign up for this project and help us Uncover History at Lincoln Memorial Park!

Learn more about Lincoln Memorial Cemetery by visiting the sites linked below:
+Brief history of Lincoln Memorial Park
+Miami New Times article highlighting neglect and overgrowth

 Notable Individuals laid to rest at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery:

  • Gwen Cherry – First African American to be elected to the state of Florida.
  • D.A. Dorsey – Miami’s first African American Millionaire.
  • H.E.S. Reeves – Founder of Miami Times
  • Ella L. Clayton Clark – First African American woman to rise to rank of Captain in U.S. Army. 
  • More than 20 military veterans dating all the way back to the Spanish American war, WWI, WWII and forth.
  • Early settling Bahamians (free men) during the late 1800's which worked clearing south Florida were buried here.
  • Chapman family, Bullard family, Rolle family and many more.


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