Tusculum College students have spent the past three weeks working to landscape the historic African-American New Hope Cemetery, mapping the cemetery and researching the stories of the people who are buried there.
The students will make a presentation about what they have done and learned at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6, in Room 101 of the Charles Oliver Gray Annex. The students are part of a Service-Learning in Northeast Tennessee course taught by Robin Fife, assistant professor of social science.
The presentation is open to the public.
The students have worked to landscape the cemetery, located near the intersection of New Hope and Old Shiloh roads. The class members have also been mapping the cemetery to record the location of the headstones and the information on each one. The students have been doing research to discover more information about the individuals and their lives. Creation of a web site to include photos of the headstones and the information they have discovered about the individuals there is another project the students have undertaken.
Following the presentation, the public is invited to visit the cemetery to see the work of the students. Some members of the Pioneer Band will play at the cemetery as well.
The cemetery is all that remains of an African-American congregation’s church that once stood nearby, the New Hope Presbyterian Church.
The church also has ties to Tusculum College. In 1869, the Rev. William Stephenson Doak was appointed by the Holston Presbytery to serve as an itinerant missionary in Greene County and as such, preached to a group of African-Americans meeting for worship in a school house near Holley Creek. At the time, Doak was serving as president of Tusculum College.
The group decided to form a church, which became New Hope, and requested affiliation with the Holston Presbytery, a governing body of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that includes churches in 12 Northeast Tennessee counties and one in Southwest Virginia. Tusculum College also has a covenant agreement with the Holston Presbytery.
Tusculum students have been involved in the clean-up and rehabilitation of the cemetery since it was rediscovered about eight years ago.