Volunteers clean Gullah cemeteries on Daufuskie Island

Volunteers clean Gullah cemeteries on Daufuskie Island

DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - A huge beautification project out on Daufuskie Island today — almost 50 volunteers got their hands dirty to help clean up the island’s Gullah cemeteries. Those who helped out say the project was long overdue.

“Man, when we first got here, we could hardly walk through.”

Daufuskie Island cemeteries have been neglected for far too long.

“Without maintenance, it’s just some grass, some bushes. So I think we can do a much better job and we should,” said Ervin Simmons, president of Daufuskie Island Foundation.

Simmons says he doesn’t know how many ancestors of the island are buried there, but it was time to take care of them. So the foundation teamed up with the Hilton Head Island MLK Committee for Justice to host Saturday’s clean up.

“We really made a considerate effort to really clean around the gravesites and protect the headstones and protect the area that do have graves that just need a little cleaning, a little tender care,” said Gaylen Miller, president of the Hilton Head MLK Committee for Justice.

The group focused on three of the seven Gullah cemeteries on Daufuskie Island — Cooper River, Bloody Point and Haig Point.

One island native says the project was an uplifting sight.

“I know the ancestors been crying long enough and now we are here answering their call, and hopefully continue to do this, not just one but all the graveyards,” said Sallie Ann Robinson.

It’s a community effort the two groups hope to continue in the future.

Cleanup coordinators say volunteers were from the island and off, and they hope more community members join in to maintain the historic areas of the island.

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