Reflections | Lifestyle Magazine Reflections Vol14 No5 - Page 72

PURSUITS MICHAEL BARRY { A A HISTORY UNEARTHED A Richmond Hill High School Student Builds on Strathy Hall’s Narrative } story long forgotten by our of their time, the McAllister Family. The “There were people who had no idea community has recently been site was recorded to have nearly 100 graves [the cemetery] was there because the area restored by one of its own. both marked and unmarked. Visitors of was so overgrown,” he said. “Nothing had 17-year-old Michael Barry ded- this newly cleared cemetery will find this been done to it for 10 years. It was a big icated his Eagle Scout project to clearing project’s background on a plaque detailing project that I thought would mean some- the decades’ worth of growth that had over- the area’s list of residents up until 1864. thing to people in the community.” taken Strathy Hall Cemetery. What rested beneath provides this subdivision the foun- dation on which its history was built. Michael was informed of the needed For Carter Infinger, Michael’s un- E xpanding on this project would have dertaking of this project has strengthened been a challenge for Michael. Research- his belief that community should help er Elise Clews Parson describes typical buri- community: revitalization by Bryan County Commis- al spots along South Carolina and Coastal “I applaud him for it,” Infinger said. sion Chairman, Carter Infinger. The site Georgia as “ragged patches of live-oak and “The more people that contribute to the had been heavily covered and, to the subdi- palmetto.” Michael and his team experi- community, the better our community vision’s dismay, forgotten. With the help of enced this firsthand; they worked nearly becomes.” Boy Scout Troop 527 and fellow JROTC nine hours to clear the fallen trees and tan- Cadets, Michael led the clearing and lev- gled underbrush surrounding the site. S o, you might think that Savannah is the eling of more than 20 graves. For Michael, Another obstacle would have been this was a chance to demonstrate his lead- discerning what was ground and what hub of Southern history, but more of ership. For his community, it was a chance was grave. Although only 30 (all arguably ered. Michael Barry’s work represents the to uncover the past. after abolition) were indicated by head- dedication this community has to maintain- Richmond Hill’s story has yet to be uncov- The cemetery sits on a plot of land stones, most graves were recognizable only ing what makes it unique. The irony that originally set aside for the burial of slaves through a depression in the earth. Mi- the uncovering of a site abandoned nearly from Strathy Hall Plantation. Post-abo- chael’s team worked to remedy this lapse by 40 years ago might shape this communi- lition, it continued as an active cemetery filling in the burial sites with top soil do- ty’s future is not lost on most; this project for the African-American community well nated by Lewis-Bashlor Construction and, marks the beginning of a larger plight to into the 1970s. Members of the subdivi- at the end of a long workday, were able to reacquaint ourselves with our roots. Could sion will recall a mapping of the site nearly closely resemble the site to customary buri- another story be hiding beneath the under- 10 years ago per the request of descendants al grounds. A few months later, Michael brush? You’ll never know unless you start of those enslaved by the plantation owners recalls the project: scratching beneath the surface. 70 Re f .