Students spruce up black cemetery, veterans’ gravestones

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Photo By Keith Myers (

KANSAS CITY, Mo. _ A group of eighth-grade students have helped clean veterans’ gravestones in a mostly abandoned cemetery once used by prominent black Kansas City-area residents in an effort to honor them before Memorial Day.

Academie Lafayette students recently used toothbrushes to scrub gravestones at the Highland Cemetery, a segregated black cemetery that opened in 1909. Their work exposed names and dates that hadn’t been seen in decades.

Science teacher Muriel Desbleds wrote to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City to discuss the students’ project and received a box of flags to place on the veterans’ graves.

The Kansas City Star reports that the Land Trust of Jackson County acquired Highland in 2010 because of a tax foreclosure judgment.
More information and photos from the Kansas City Star.

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