Respect and dignity: Piney Grove Cemetery restoration effort

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Tombstones at Piney Grove

The Piney Grove Cemetery Committee and the ANSWER Coalition are calling on all Atlantans to help restore respect and dignity to the Piney Grove Cemetery.

Donate to help make the restoration possible.

Piney Grove Cemetery is considered the last remaining historic landmark of Piney Grove, a former African-American community, located in Buckhead that dates back as far as the mid-1820s. The cemetery has over 300 graves, some of which hold the remains of formerly enslaved people who helped build this city we call home today.

This sacred site is also a historically significant landmark for Atlanta determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The irregular burial patterns, the variety of hewn and native gravestones, and the terraced landscaping are unique features that give Piney Grove Cemetery a distinct historic character and make it significant as a historic cultural landscape.

Despite this, Piney Grove Cemetery has been threatened by highways and high-end residential developments for a number of decades. Piney Grove is one example of Georgia's history of redlining and the exclusion of Black residents on one hand and the systematic neglect and expulsion of established Black communities on the other.

The state of the cemetery today is not good. It hasn't been cared for in years. There is trash, tires, bottles, and other rubbish scattered all over the site. Vegetation has overgrown many grave markers and sites.

But we have hope! A newly formed Piney Grove cemetery committee as well as historians and activists have undertaken the task of restoring the site to a state worthy of the history that still lives there and the souls buried in its grounds.

To restore respect and dignity to Piney Grove Cemetery we are asking people to:

  1. Donate to the GoFundMe to make the restoration possible.
  2. Volunteer with the clean-up efforts by emailing SavePineyGroveCemetery@gmail.com or call 470-509-4746.

More on the initial restoration details:

The restoration of Piney Grove Cemetery will be a long process and will require the funds and volunteer hours of many supporters. We will release updates and more details as progress is made. 

The first necessary step in restoration will be the removal of the vegetation on site so that a full and accurate assessment of the landscaping that will be needed can be made. To do this we will first have a volunteer crew clear up some of the dangerous trash like broken bottles. Then we will be renting goats to help clear the land. 

We estimate that it will take about a week of goat browsing to get the site cleared. The cost of this goat rental will be roughly $2150 ($200/day for 7 days plus $750 in fence setup and removal costs) plus some expected overages. Those overages are going to include costs to remove the trash from the site as there are many old tires littered throughout the cemetery as well as the enzyme cleanup needed to get rid of the goat droppings that will be left behind. 

Once the vegetation is cleared and the remnants of the goats have been cleaned up the next steps will involve removal of several large downed trees as well as the resetting of many headstones and grave markers that were disturbed when the original dynamite blasting for Rt. 400 was done. 

Any leftover monies from this campaign will be used for any efforts to restore respect and dignity to our communities. No one on the committee is receiving any compensation for their work, as it is a strictly volunteer effort.

If you have any questions about the restoration project or are media please contact SavePineyGroveCemetery@gmail.com or call 470-509-4746.


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