PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. — Members of two Clemson University fraternities spent Saturday morning dedicating their time, strength and their care to a historic churchyard.
Soapstone Baptist Church, near Table Rock, was established in 1865 by freed enslaved people.
Saturday morning, the men of Alpha Tau Omega and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternities teamed up to clean up the property, including clearing out trees downed by last year’s tornadoes.
Mabel Owen Clarke has dedicated her life to saving the historic property.
Her great-great-grandfather was an enslaved person and is buried in the church cemetery.
Clarke made a promise to her mother that she would fight to preserve the property.
“To me, it shows unity: no matter what color you are, that we all can come together and work for common purpose, and to me, my heart just burns so happily this morning. Just to see how well they work together; no divisions or anything, it’s just peace and harmony harmony,” said Clarke.
In 2020, Clarke and fellow church members were fighting to keep the church and pay off the mortgage when the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on their normal fish fry fundraisers.
After being featured in several magazines, people sent in donations helping them to finally pay off the loan.