Community Clean up Day at Smith Memorial AME Zion Church planned for Saturday

In case of rain, event date will be moved to Saturday, Nov. 11

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, local historic preservationist Elizabeth Jones will lead community members in a cemetery clean-up day at the Smith Memorial AME Zion Church Cemetery. The educational day is a part of the Georgia Trust’s Elizabeth Lyon Fellowship program. In case of rain, the event will be moved to Nov. 11.

We hope everyone in the community will join us! The church is located at 405 N Broad St, Monroe, GA 30655 (at the corner of Marable Street).

We will discuss the history of the church and clear invasive brush from the site. Volunteers will learn how to clean gravestones with D/2 biological solution and discuss other Best Practices. Some heritage bulbs will be planted for spring.

Please bring weed eaters, saws, clippers, rakes, and other gardening tools. We encourage you to wear gloves. Snacks and water will be provided.

(Please call or email Elizabeth with any questions. 706-621-3580 or

The Smith Memorial AME Zion Church was established around the same time as Zion Hill Church on Alcovy Street. Deed Book X, page 533, references Smith’s Chapel. The property was originally mis-deeded to Greene Howard in 1869. It was rightfully deeded to the church trustees in 1882. The AME Zion Church, “to wit, A.H. McKinly, G.W. Delamatter, Hibbard Richmond, John Still, Elisha Broadnax, Amos Revell, Alex Haywood, Phillip Haywood, and Abram P. Brown” witnessed that Greene Howard and others active as trustees of Smith’s Chapel completed the purchase of the lot for the sum of twenty dollars from Waters Briscoe, “…after the late war between the states and after the Emancipation of the Slaves of the Southern States, by themselves and other benevolent persons both white and colored to be used for educational and religious purposes by the colored people resident in and about Monroe and vicinity.”

The Smith Memorial AME Zion Cemetery contains over 119 surveyed markers within two acres, though it is likely there are many more unmarked graves.

“It’s a beautiful cemetery. There are some large, gorgeous markers towards the back. It just needs some help from the community,” Jones said. “Hopefully, we can start hosting regular days. Especially once the spring rolls around.”

Jones, who has a large undertaking already underway with the restoration of the Zion Hill Cemetery in Monroe, said she would be willing to help them out maybe once a month to help with the revitalization of the cemetery.

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