Fourth U.S. Colored Infantry at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.
Clarksville is full of rich and beautiful history.
Some of Clarksville’s history lies within Mount Olive Cemetery, which is six minutes away from APSU.
Mount Olive was created by a group of African American businessmen that decided to create a memorial where African Americans of Clarksville could be laid to rest properly.
The first recorded burial was in 1817 with the last identified in 1958.
The seven acre plot holds 1,350 burial plots.
Those that find Mount Olive Cemetery to be their final resting place include: the first Black entrepreneur of Clarksville, slaves, educators, children, and United States Colored Troops; some who were apart of the 16th U.S. Colored infantry regiment that began in Nashville, TN.
These soldiers were released without pension and benefits, but were the same colored soldiers that marched miles and miles on foot in the cold from Clarksville to Chattanooga.
In recent years the cemetery has been through quite a downhill change requiring time and money.
Even though 1,350 graves have been discovered, there are a lot more people and graves that have yet to be found due to the lack of help.
With APSU creating and establishing over 130 organizations and clubs, these groups can help by taking time to volunteer with cemetery clean-up.
They can even help by hosting fundraisers to fix tombstones and help those who have not been discovered come to light.
Two years ago in November of 2021, the Latino Community Resource Center gathered up Austin Peay students to volunteer at the historical cemetery, and as a volunteer, the experience was life-changing.
I can never forget the tears and shock on the volunteers faces, including mine. The experience was beyond moving. Students and staff were able to learn about the lives of those that are buried at Mount Olive Cemetery, and I had the honor of touching and cleaning history. I felt at peace.