MNM: EBTU Students Volunteer For Clean-up at Love Cemeteryby Naomi Prioleau-News Messenger
MARSHALL NEWS MESSENGER (9/29/13) - An intimate group of East Texas Baptist University students and faculty traveled into the unkempt depths of a cemetery in Scottsville to help clean it.
Spending their Saturday raking, mowing and annihilating the growth of wisteria, grass and weeds; ETBU students along with family of the deceased, worked hard to make the historic Love Cemetery presentable again.
Doris Vittatoe, who is on the Love Burial Association committee, spoke about the history of the cemetery and how a clean-up effort took years to bring to fruition. Ms. Vittatoe’s great grandfather, Ohio Taylor is buried there.
"It was six or seven years before we were able to gain access to the cemetery,” she said. "Prior to getting access we had gone to Austin and met with the Funeral Commission of Texas and the head of the commission came out here and his assistant came out and saw we couldn’t get in because the timber company said we couldn’t.”
The struggles, Ms. Vittatoe, Nuthel Sparks Britton, who spearheaded gaining access to the cemetery, and her children faced, caught the eye of author China Galland who then interviewed with a Dallas radio station about their situation.
After hearing the interview, Wiley trustee, Jerry Cargill decided to get involved and with the help of attorneys and agreements, in 2003 Ms. Galland, Ms. Vittatoe, Ms. Britton and other family members were finally able to begin work on the cemetery that dates back to slavery.
Lisa Seeley, director for the Greater Commission Center at ETBU, said she enjoyed the clean-up project and participating with the students and family members.
"I love being outdoors and I love being out here, this is great for me. I love that we get to do this for them,” she said.
Ms. Vittatoe agreed saying she was thankful that students have been able to help them out a few times a year.
"It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that they came out to help us.”
For information on the Love Cemetery and its upcoming documentary, visit www.resurrectinglovemovie.org.
(Photo and story by permission www.marshallnewsmessenger.com)
Click here to watch CBS-19 story by Kevin Boyce