MILTON — The African American Memorial in Milton Cemetery was unveiled and dedicated Sunday, merely two months after project members announced their desire to erect the marker honoring 17 African Americans who are buried there.
“The whole community came through” with funds, said Carriann Shultz, chairwoman of the African American Memorial Committee, since the memorial project was announced in July.
“The most impressive part is we didn’t have to go outside of the community to raise money, seek grants or anything,” she said. “Enough was sent in, and it was teamwork that brought it together.”
About 50 people, including Milton Mayor Edward Nelson and the Milton American Legion color guard, took part in the honors Sunday to remember and honor the final resting places, discovered through research by Catherine Hastings, an associate professor of communications at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove.
Committee members designed the monument themselves, and even that became a community project: Carl Schwartz of Milton donated limestone for it from his property, and Peggy and Gary Fulmer. of Milton, donated marble. Florist Andrea Klinger donated a special wreath for Sunday’s service as well as 17 bouquets for each person, who were all laid to rest between 1853 and 1925 at Milton Cemetery.
The memorial and service Sunday helped give a feeling of closure, Shultz said. “It’s the culmination of a project that bears witness that these people were alive and part of the community,” she said.