During the past and current academic year, Dr. Frances Staten has strived to make a difference in the field of service-learning and research by involving her anthropology and practicum in sociology classes, Social Research Club, and Pi Gamma Mu-BEAP in identifying individuals and families in a local cemetery.
About 30 students in this semester’s anthropology class identified gravesites of various families whose names are prominent in the history of the city of Grambling and Grambling State University. Some of those families are the Garners, Sheltons, Mays, Adamses, Garrs, Jameses, Johnsons, Washingtons, Walkers, Masons, Bennetts, and Tanners.
Additionally, faculty and students in the Social Research Club and Pi Gamma Mu Honor Society-BEAP performed the same task, along with removing grass and other debris from around the monuments or grave markers.A small fence was erected around and a wreath placed on the grave of GSU founder Charles P. Adams. On his family members’ burial sites, the students placed flowers and crosses.
During the group’s cleanup efforts, the gravesite of Oliver and Pinkie Washington was discovered. The Washingtons’ tombstone contained the inscription “whose written request for a teacher brought Charles P. Adams” to Grambling.
GSU’s BEAPers, assisted by the the Rev. James Smith, Dr. Obadiah Simmons and Dr. Staten, cleaned the grave of Adams and his family last Christmas Eve and placed a wreath on his grave and poinsettias on the family graves. The longevity researchers of the Social Research Club have decided to adopt the burial site of the GSU founder and the Washington couple as a part of heir ongoing project the African American Cemetery Research /Beautification Project. The Rev. Michaeal Douglas, student coordinator of the Longevity Project, has issued a challenge to other campus organizations, local churches and the community to become a “difference maker.””Take pride in our Black heritage by adopting a cemetery and keeping it clean and beautiful,” he said. He feels the project should particularly be observed during Founder’s Week, Make a Difference Day and during the Thanksgiving season. “Remember that by joining together we all can be a “Difference Maker,” Douglas said. “