Chattanoogans give back on MLK Day - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanoogans give back on MLK Day

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Chattanooga is among hundreds of cities celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s efforts toward equality. For the last several decades this day has marked a day to not only remember Dr. King, but also a day to live out his legacy.

This year marks the 50th year since Dr. King’s assassination, making this year’s holiday even more special for many people. Thousands came together Monday morning to volunteer their time on various service projects around the city.

At Beck Knob Cemetery, volunteers removed debris and cleaned up the plot of land that needed some TLC. It was just one of many locations more than 2,300 volunteers worked on to pay tribute to Dr. King’s impact on the world.

"But also the sacrifice that thousands of other people have made giving their lives to promote civil rights in our country,” said James Mckissic, City of Chattanooga Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Over the year, it has become over grown, the cemetery is one of the oldest African American cemeteries in Chattanooga. It was founded in in the late 1800’s and is the resting place for more than one hundred people.

"It kind of fell off and to the point where we didn't take care of it properly like we should have,” said Gary James of Hurst United Methodist Church.
It’s a day on, not a day off for these volunteers. They bared the cold not because they had to, but because they say it's the right thing to do.

"It's just caring and doing something that something that martin Luther king would want us to do, we're all helping out together,” said Erykah Hopkins, volunteer  .

And it's that influence that continues to spread around the world and right here in our city. There’s still a lot of work to be done to preserve this cemetery. However, some say today was the answer to a prayer they've been waiting for.

"We’ve been trying to figure out how the lord was going to lead us into getting this taken care of and he sent more than we could've imagined to help us get started,” James said.

Hurst United Methodist Church says they plan to do more work restore the cemetery. Eventually, they hope to have it registered as a National Historic Place. 

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