Volunteers help preserve Miami's first African American cemetery

17-year-old David Joseph organized the rejuvenation project


MIAMI – A high school senior led the way to rejuvenating Miami's first African American cemetery, which is called Lincoln Memorial Park.

17-year-old David Joseph, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, organized the project. The cemetery holds the remains of prominent African American members from South Florida.  It has been in operation for nearly 90 years and Joseph is hoping to solve many of the age-related issues.

"I had a friend who came, and he saw how wrecked up this place was, and you know, I saw a need and I jumped at the opportunity to be able to clean it up, for a project," Joseph said.

Joseph and a group of volunteers pulled weeds, removed a tree, and picked up debris.

Many noted African American pioneers are buried at the cemetery, which opened in 1924 and houses 538 burial plots. They include: Dr. William Sawyer, Miami's first African American physician and founder of Christian Hospital; Dana Dorsey, Miami's first African American millionaire; H.E.S. Reeves, founder of the Miami Times; and Gwendolyn Cherry, the first African American woman to serve in the Florida legislature.

There are also many graves of African American veterans and police officers.

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