Residents roll up their sleeves to preserve history

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Some folks in Alief didn't like the way a cemetery was being kept up, so they decided to do something about it.

They're spending their Saturdays cleaning up the Alief Cemetery at the corner of Bellaire and Dairy Ashford. It's a place where some very influential people were laid to rest.

On any given Saturday morning, you'll see them working. And it's probably not what you think.

"They think we're digging up graves," said Marie Lee with the Alief Community Association. "We're not digging up graves. We're just leveling the cemetery and trying to make it look nice."

Members of the Alief Community Association have been giving up their Saturday mornings to roll up their sleeves and clean up the Alief Cemetery. Over the years, some of the headstones have sunk and others have been stolen.

"People think it's a pet cemetery," said Lee. "It's actually not a pet cemetery. It's a person cemetery."

Not only is it a person cemetery, it's an historic cemetery. Alief Ozella Magee is one of the many influential people buried there. Alief got its name from her. She was the country's first postmistress.

Workers say they're trying to level the ground, raise the headstones, and restore the tranquility of the cemetery.

"We think that the people buried here deserve a little respect," said Lee.

Crews also plan to add a fence. If you would like to get involved, contact the Alief Community Association.
(Copyright © 2006, KTRK-TV)

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