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Apr 20, 2021

Museum Joins African American Cemetery Restoration Project

Volunteers remove brush.

On Saturday, April 17th, volunteers and staff from the International African American Museum (IAAM) participated in the African American Cemeteries Restoration project at Morris Street Baptist Church Cemetery. This initiative was announced on Saturday, March 13th at a press conference led by the Office of the Mayor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Charleston, and the Gullah Society.

This cleanup day supported the restoration of historically significant African American burial sites in the Lowcountry. IAAM volunteers and staff assisted with clean-up and landscaping, trimming bushes, raking leaves, and clearing overgrowth areas. 

This initiative is funded by the recently launched Cemeteries Restoration Fund, managed by the Gullah Society. 

“It is an honor to participate in this project, as the museum’s mission is to honor the untold stories of the African American journey,” said Reverend DeMett Jenkins, Lilly director of education and engagement for faith-based communities at the IAAM. “This site is another sacred site we must revere. Restoring it unites us around a common purpose and helps us honor our ancestors while building a stronger community.”

Community leaders in attendance included Mayor John Tecklenburg, Chief Luther Reynolds, Dr. Bernard Powers, historian and IAAM board member, and Grant Mishoe, genealogist at the Gullah Society.

For more information, please contact David Goltra, communications director of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Mike Whack, special assistant to John Tecklenburg, City of Charleston. 

About the Gullah Society

Gullah Society is a nonprofit organization created to assist those seeking to reconnect with their Gullah heritage, African history and culture. We honor our ancestors and commit to attending to their burial grounds as we know that they are forever with us.

About the International African American Museum

The International African American Museum strives to foster empathy and understanding, empowering visitors with the knowledge of the past. The museum journey will challenge, illuminate, inspire and ultimately, will move people to action. The Museum’s exhibitions will share untold stories using classic techniques as well as new approaches driven by innovation, technology and digital interactivity. Themes will include connections across the African diaspora, the spread of African American culture and influence, and the movements for justice and equality. The Center for Family History will enable visitors to trace their genealogy, while changing exhibitions and special events will keep the Museum energized. Educational programs will provide life-long learning opportunities for visitors both young and old.

The International African American Museum will open in 2022. For more information, visit our website at or connect with us on social media @iaamuseum on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.