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Local DAR chapter and families clean and restore historic Canaan Cemetery

“It speaks a lot about the concept of service and about putting a greater cause above yourself. That’s something this country can actually use a lot more of.”
Published: Aug. 21, 2021 at 4:33 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -The Come and Take It chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution organized a day of service to clean the historic Canaan Cemetery in Bryan on Saturday.

The Canaan Cemetery is the final resting place for the largely African American farming community of Canaan, which includes prominent black farmers and veterans.

Raschelle Black with the Daughters of the American Revolution says this project was a way to honor the families of those laid to rest at the cemetery while carrying out their mission to preserve history.

“It’s important to preserve the history and tell the stories of those families and the soldiers as well so they’re not forgotten,” said Black. “The family members have been elated about what we’re doing and excited. A lot of them are coming out to help us. We have a few family members that come out every Saturday that we meet and help out with everything.”

This is a late post but we had 26 volunteers come out to help last Saturday! Great progress was made!

Posted by Canaan Cemetery Cleanup Project on Sunday, August 15, 2021

Michael C. Harris of Austin has several family members buried in the Canaan Cemetery.

“I come here all the time because I have two sets of great grandparents, one set of great-great-grandparents, and numerous great aunts and uncles that are buried here since a hundred years ago,” said Harris. “My job as a family member is to maintain that legacy and to keep the graves presentable.”

“Over the years, for whatever reason, the cemetery has not been maintained,” said Harris. “Through the effort of the DAR and other volunteer groups, we have some synergy to try to get it restored and some things in place, so that now it can be maintained going forward.”

Harris says seeing the support of the community means the world to him.

“The fact that folks are coming here that have no real connection to this speaks a lot,” said Harris. “It speaks a lot about the concept of service and about putting a greater cause above yourself. That’s something this country can actually use a lot more of.”

Several groups and organizations took part in the clean-up, including Wreaths Across America, The Brazos Valley African American Museum, and several churches.

Black says she expects the restoration process to take close to two years to complete and welcomes any volunteers to come out when events are held.

The next cleanup event is scheduled for Saturday, September 4th, if you’d like to help out.

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