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Important work being done to preserve Hilldale’s history

We are happy to see the hard work being put in by many volunteers to uncover and make easily accessible information about who is buried where in Hilldale Cemetery.

There may be thousands buried in the African American cemetery in Danville whose information and location have been lost over the years. They deserve to have their memories preserved as much as anyone else.

The Central Kentucky African American Cemetery Association is aiming to “correct a grievous injustice in the handling and recording of the Hilldale records” through its volunteer work, Mike Denis told us for our story in Friday’s paper.

It is all too often the case that those who die with little to no money are soon forgotten by the world they lived in, even if they worked hard and helped many people during their lifetimes. Because of this nation’s history, it is also all too often the case that those who die with little to no money are black.

Fortunately, this work to save the stories of so many people who helped make Danville what it is today is being done before their stories are lost forever.

The city has around 1,500 burial records for Hilldale, but Denis has amassed a list of more than 4,000 known burials there. By tracking down burial records through services like findagrave.com and using GPS, the volunteers are remapping where those lost graves are.

In some cases, there is essentially nothing left to mark the physical locations of these graves. Bill stocker told us some of those buried received only a rock as a grave marker.

“It’s sad that they lived here their whole life and all they get is a rock,” he said.

He’s right. Humans are very good at remembering those who rose to high levels in society and/or made a lot of money, but we’re often bad at remembering everyday people, even though they are just as essential to our community’s fabric.

Luckily, those buried in Hilldale are getting more attention now — they are getting the respect and attention they deserve thanks to the hard work and sweat of volunteers who understand the value of everyone’s history.