Hidden in the woods behind Clarke Middle School in Athens, Georgia is a portal to another time. Concealed by vines and brambles, the Bethlehem Cemetery is an African American cemetery which was used primarily from the 1880s to the 1990s. Those who were laid to rest here mostly lived in the Brooklyn/Hawthorne area of Athens. Nature and time have laid claim to much of the cemetery; some tombstones have fallen and are covered with ivy, other graves are completely unmarked.
The restoration of the Brooklyn Cemetery began in 2006 through the efforts of Mr. Karl Scott and Mrs. Linda Davis both trustees of the Friends of the Brooklyn Cemetery agency. The purpose of the restoration was to uncover, mark, and tag graves that had been covered by time and nature. Through the selfless help and time of the Brooklyn Cemetery trustees, Clark Middle School students, the University of Georgia Greek organizations, students, and professionals, and countless volunteers the heritage of the Brooklyn/Hawthorne area is being uncovered.
Visit the Brooklyn Cemetery website to get involved and learn more about the ongoing beautification, preservation, and research of a once lost landmark of the African American community in Athens, Georgia.