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Community determined to restore neglected, flooded gravesite in Tamina

HOUSTON -- Walking through the marshy grounds in this quiet, deserted area of Tamina, Elijah Easley looks out in disbelief that over time, this burial ground has been neglected and forgotten.

A majority of the tombstones are now completely submerged under water.

"It is highly disrespectful to our ancestors. They were the ones who founded the lands where many of their descendants now live," Easley said.

For generations, the Sweet Rest Cemetery is where many of Easley's ancestors and Tamina's founders were laid to rest.

"My great grandparents, ex-slaves, Native Americans, veterans from World War I and World War II and the Korean conflict, and even law enforcement, are all buried here," Easley said.

Easley serves as Chairman of the board of the Tamina Cemetery Project and Community Development Corporation.

Over the last several months, Easley has made it his mission to restore the 12-acre gravesite and declare the cemetery a Texas historical site.

"It's going to take money and time. We need to roll up our sleeves and do this side by side. It needs to be a community effort," Easley said.

Between a longstanding drainage issue and overflow from Hurricane Harvey, Easley said it's hard to pinpoint exactly when the cemetery started flooding.

All he knows is step one begins with getting rid of all the water.

The organization will host a Tamina cemetery rally fundraiser on June 16. Location TBD.

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