Additional Resource

Latter-day Saints and Baptists Clean Graves of Slaves

In November, Latter-day Saint missionaries (young men and young women as well as senior couples) came to the aid of their Baptist neighbors. They responded to an invitation from the Antioch Baptist Church in Fayette County, Georgia, inviting volunteers to help clean their cemetery and mark graves of slaves that had been hidden and unmarked for 100 years.


This long-forgotten section of the cemetery was re-discovered in 1998, when a member of Antioch Baptist Church was clearing the overgrown shrubs and uncovered a tombstone. That event led to the discovery of more than 100 graves believed to be the final resting place of slaves. Most of the graves were marked only with large stones or the sunken soil on top. Two were covered in seashells, buried in what are called “crocodile graves.” The shells are believed to have been a symbol among slaves of their home on the African coast.

The graves were cleaned in 1998, but they remained unmarked until recently. A local Boy Scout of America troop volunteered to make wooden crosses for each of the graves, and the Antioch Baptist Church asked the community to help the Scouts in this project. The Scouts and the Latter-day Saint missionaries assisted in clearing overgrown vegetation and placed white crosses at each grave, giving those who lay buried long-awaited recognition. The missionaries also memorialized the lives of their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Read more about the original discovery of these graves here.

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