BY JUSTIN TRAUSCH
FOR THE OBSERVER
This Saturday, June 11, the public is invited to come to 2500 Frederick Road in Opelika to help restore and prepare the historic George and Addie Giddens Cemetery for Auburn University’s research to preserve Afro stories and traditions. -American (rPAAST). The cleanup will take place between 9 a.m. and noon with the assistance of the Lee County Cemetery Preservation Commission. Everyone is invited to volunteer.
Dr. Robert Bubb, a lecturer and rPAAST coordinator at Auburn University, has been organizing and participating in cemetery cleanups in the Auburn/Opelika area for about five years now. He and his research team have helped restore half a dozen cemeteries in an effort to achieve GPR, or ground penetrating radar, to better understand the lost history at these historic African-American burial sites.
“The history of the cemetery is what I really want to showcase,” he said. “That’s why we do this work.”
Bubb said he has his own personal connection to this line of work that is close to his heart. Her double great-grandmother was a pillar of her community in Brenham, Texas after emancipation from slavery, but her story and burial place have been lost over time. His inability to help restore Brenham Cemetery fueled his passion, and he now regularly checks around 30 historic African-American cemeteries in Lee County.
Work at Giddens Cemetery this Saturday will include raking up debris, marking potential field stones, cutting ropes and hand cleaning the southern border of Grave Site 3. All are encouraged to bring gloves, rakes, tarps, trimmers, loppers or any other tool that may be useful for clearing vegetation.
For more information about the cleanup event, contact Bubb at 334-332-0059 or email him at [email protected]