Denton County invests $20K to keep slave cemetery clean

News 8's Philip Townsend has more.

DENTON COUNTY -- A rusty gate is all that separated Willie Hudspeth from a forgotten past.

"You can't see it," Hudspeth said.

In a small, wooded area south of Pilot Point, Hudspeth uncovered St. John's Cemetery. It was once a burial site for African-American slaves in the 1800s.

"Many of them didn't get their freedom," Hudspeth said. "They were always slaves. And they died slaves."

The gravestones have been neglected and lost under a century's worth of leaves and sticks.

That is, until Willie came around.

"You matter, you matter, and you matter," Hudspeth said, pointing at various gravestones.

He and other volunteers have already invested hours of their own time every Saturday cleaning up the site.

But this week, after months of lobbying commissioners, Willie learned that the county will invest $20,000 into landscaping for the site.

"We're making sure that where there last resting place is, is going to be honored," Hudspeth said.

That leaves him more time to connect with the past, and bring back grace that was once lost.

"We're going to find the ancestors," he said.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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