BALTIMORE - Maryland state prison inmates have helped to restore a cemetery thought to be the oldest open to Baltimore's black residents.
The Mount Auburn Cemetery was officially rededicated this week after being cleared of brush, weeds and garbage. More than 40 prisoners have worked on the four-year effort to transform the site's 34 acres. Church groups, students and community organizations also helped with renovations.
Gary Maynard, the secretary for the state's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, says there are 55,000 graves at the cemetery.
The cemetery became the final resting place for many pioneers of the city's black community, including Lillie May Carroll Jackson, who led the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP for 35 years, and Joseph Gans, the first lightweight boxing champion.
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