Caring for historical cemeteries — who should the responsibility fall on?

    A South Jersey attorney is hoping to rally support for the care and maintentance of an important piece of Camden’s history.

    Johnson Cemetery Park, in East Camden, is the city’s first black cemetery and is the resting place of up to 300 area residents. The cemetery also holds approximately 120 graves attributed to members of the U.S. Colored Troops, who fought for the Union Army in the Civil War following the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, according to attorney Kevin Walker.

    When it comes to areas of historical significance, such as Johnson Cemetery Park, who should the responsibility of maintenance and upkeep fall on? Is it the city’s responsibility, the descendants of those buried or someone else?

    Tell us in the comments below.

    Walker recently filmed the documentary “The Lonely Bones,” which features Johnson Park Cemetery in hopes of raising awareness for its upkeep and historical significance.

    Walker says the small community cemetery, which sits on three acres of land, needs long term maintenance. Many of the headstones are hardly visible, and the area itself has become a forgotten “historical signifiance,” according to Walker.

    The New Jersey Cemetery Association says the maintenance and upkeep of a cemetery can be both time consuming and expensive.

    Walker says the City of Camden and Camden’s American Legion post are working to find ways to ensure the cemetery is not forgotten.

    But when it comes to smaller areas of historical significance, such as Johnson Cemetery Park, who should the responsibility of maintenance and upkeep fall on? Is it the city’s responsibility, descendants of those buried or someone else? Tell us in the comments below.

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