Restoring a Legacy .....

Historic Dempsey D. Butler Cemetery located in Camden NJ is a 144 year old African American and Civil War Union Soldier burial site.

Restoration is greatly needed to perserve this landmark and to revive a "forgotten Legacy" in the neighborhood of Centerville.

PLEASE join Friends of Butler Cemetery Association in restoring the Legacy by making a donation through Heart of Camden

OR you may donate building materials to replace hairpin fencing, benches, cemetery markers and walkways.

Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2012 Clean Up Schedule

The 2012 Clean Up Schedule
will be posted within the next 2 weeks
Check back for dates ... Maybe you can help out this year!

Thank You and Happy New Year To All Who Have Supported FHBC!

 I could not do this without your help, THANK YOU ALL!

  • Ofc. Lucy Valentin - ISP Supervisor, Camden County And all the those in her crew over the years that have come out early on Saturday mornings and worked hard to make and keep the grounds presentable. RIP JUNIE 
  • Mr. Dave Redd to whom I promised I would not give up! For most of his life he was the caretaker for HBC. He gave his time unselfishly to ensure those laid to rest were given the respect they deserved - a well kept burial ground. May you rest in peace Mr. Redd, my word is bond!
  • Mr. Herbie Hicks and VFW POST 475. Never forgetting to decorate the graves of the Civil War Veterans throughout the year! 
  • My Public Relations Crew - Some of the most reliable, proudest and "dressing to the nine" ladies I could ever hope to be associated with: Ms. Willie Washington (aka Ms Professional), Mary Sparks (aka Jackie O), Carolyn Taylor (aka Ms. Precise), Connie House (aka State Worker).
  • Anna Shipp, former Volunteer Coordinator, WHYY PBS Station, Philadelphia Pa. 
  • Craig, Steve, and Henry Dorrance Media Commons, Story Telling Program, WHYY PBS Station, Philadelphia Pa.
  • Terrance at HOPEWORKS, Camden NJ for ensuring Butler stays on the City map, and HOPEWORKS Students for creating and hosting the FHBC webpage!
         Friends of Historic Butler Cemetery Org. 2012

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cleaning Up Butler

Please join us this Saturday, October 15th ..... 8a - 11am

Cleaning Up Butler!!! Come out and help us, bring only your drive

and dedication to volunteerism! I will supply tools and gloves!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

African American Civil War Memorial and Museum

Museum Director Frank Smith, Ph.D., during his four elected terms with the District Council, Washington, DC, laid the basic groundwork to establish a national memorial for African American troops who served in the Civil War.

Fulfilling a lifelong dream to honor African Americans who fought for freedom as USCT, he oversaw the dedication of the African American Civil War Memorial in July 1998.

Toward that goal, Dr. Smith used a lifetime of leadership experience to secure financing, District support, and the active involvement of public and private agencies to establish the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum.

Learn more by accessing their website. Click title link.

One Good Turn .....

Xerox news source highlights FHBC Volunteers good deeds!
We don't only ask others for support, we pay it forward as well.

On Saturday, June 4th, FHBC Volunteers from Xerox Employee Service Center, Zeta Sorority, St. Bartholomew RCC, and Bethany Baptist Church gave of our time to support the
PBS Philadelphia Station, Whyy in their Television Funding Campaign.

Article …

21 Jun 2011

One Good Turn Cascades into Another

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give,” Sir Winston Churchill is credited with saying this. Sovonne Ukam, an ACS team manager at the Xerox Employee Service Center in Cherry Hill, NJ, embraces it.

She rallies around causes in the New Jersey/Pennsylvania corridor, where she lives and works. She “encourages, encourages, encourages” others to join in. Take the first Saturday in June. She and ACS colleagues volunteered at the Delaware Valley Public Broadcasting Station. From 4:30 to 9:30 p.m., they did something they excel at: speak with callers. They responded to 233 calls, which raised more than $30,000 for the campaign. As they worked the phones, the emcee beckoned Sovonne to center stage.

It was time for an on-air interview about another project in Sovonne’s community service portfolio—Friends of Butler Cemetery Association. Sovonne founded this non-profit organization three years ago. Butler Cemetery in Camden, N.J., is a burial ground for local African-American Civil War soldiers. The property needed restoration. It still needs regular maintenance. Sovonne pledged to help and spearheads these activities in her spare time. In fact, she made a documentary about this historic site; that is, with the help of PBS, where she has met contacts who promote this effort.

Good deeds come full circle, don’t they?

ACS employees who volunteered at the PBS fundraising event, in the photo above, are: Janisse Rivera, Sovonne Ukam, Amy Vietri, Malinda Allen, Nancy Arent, Jim Schickling and Arianna Simes. They are wearing Friends of Butler Cemetery tee-shirts to support the community service organization that Sovonne founded. ACS call center employees worked the phones and raised $30,000 for a PBS television station. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Giving Back is the Best Way to Receive!

Friends of Historic Butler Cemetery giving their time and support to help Whyy PBS telelvision station in the funding campaign.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Prayer "On This Memorial Day"

In Honor of those who served us with their lives.
May you rest in peace.

On this Memorial Day

Grant peace to the souls

of all those soldiers who died in war.

We remember the tears and grief of their families,

The pain of mothers, wives, husbands and children

Who lost precious loved ones.

To build a meaningful memorial to them,

We ask God to give us all the will

To work for peace around the world

So no more sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, nor mothers

Are slaughtered by the guns and bombs of war.

We ask Mary, who held the lifeless body of her son

And was pierced by the sorrow of his suffering and death,

To grant us the compassion and wisdom to affirm life

And honor the dead through forgiveness and peace making.

May God have mercy on the souls of the departed.

Grant them peace, O Lord. May we have mercy on the living.

Grant us peace, O Lord. In Your name we pray.

Amen. from Education for Peace

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

WHYY CONNECTIONS Newsletter" Hamilton Commons ‘Inspiring’ Fledgling Multimedia Producers"

Check out the latest WHYY CONNECTIONS 2011 newsletter!
Click on this post's title to access the newsletter.

On page 4 you will find interview comments made by "yours truly" re my documentary production experience which provided the spring board for the Butler Cemetery Documentary!

The article is titled " Hamilton Commons ‘Inspiring’ Fledgling Multimedia Producers"
In it I cite my reasons for producing the video ....
“I needed an impactful mode of communication to reach a large number of people,” Ukam said. “The story of historic Butler Cemetery needed to not just be told but seen. A picture speaks a thousand words! But a picture with a narrative — 10,000 more!"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Connie won a Grammy!!!

Grammy Award winning Yocontalie (Connie) Jackson, President and CEO of the construction management firm Jackson & Associates, and President New Jersey chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors - Is also a Historic Butler Cemetery Volunteer!

Connie's collaboration with Russell Simmons, Sweet Honey In The Rock, Julian Lennon and others were recognized February 13th - Sunday night with a 2011 Grammy Award for their Children’s spoken word, 2 CD set , titled "Healthy Food For Thought: Good Enough To Eat".

She wrote "Mama said be healthy, wealthy and wise" Here a brief clip!

Connie shared the news of the nomination with us while in the studio Sunday January 30th –she was there doing what she does best …helping others "give back".

Congratulation Connie - "Historic Butler" comrades are extremely proud of you!!!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Friends of Historic Butler Cemetery supporting Whyy ....

The Friends of Historic Butler Cemetery the words of Winston Churchill
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." And our time we did give ...FOB arrived at 730a this morning to begin a five and half hour funding campaign at Whyy Studios to help Whyy National Public Radio (NPR) kick off their 2011 Funding Campaign!

On hand to accept pledges from the many National Public Radio and Whyy Channel 12 supporters were ... Sovonne Ukam, Shumethia Seal, Connie House, Willie Washington, Jocelyne E. Valentin, Bryce McNair, Milo Utu, Leesa Branch, and "Music Grammy Award Nominated" Yocontalie A. Jackson

We had a great time "giving back" ...Check out the video.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cemeteries: Gravestone symbols - - Genealogy blog

Cemeteries: Gravestone symbols - - Genealogy blog



Historic Butler Cemetery featured video on the Whyy Public Television website!

Historic Butler Cemetery is the featured video on the Whyy Public Television website. I was afforded the opportunity to produce the documentary through a members program sponsored by the Dorrance Hamilton Media Commons department. The documentary focuses on preservation and conservation efforts that have taken place for this important historical site.

Click the title of this post to view the video!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Friends of Historic Butler Cemetery was very excited to help WHYY National Public Radio service callers making donations to the station during their fall campaign drive!

There were 14 FOHBC volunteers ready and available to service callers!
We met NPR's annual funding quota and took over 280 calls!
 .... We had a great time. Thanks WHYY!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Butler Restoration Project

We are down to the final quarter this year for clean ups!
Remaining dates are: October 23 . November 20 . December 11

The grounds are becoming much more manageable, however I am still praying for enough
in donations to begin some restoration works. Here are the targets and estimated costs:

Butler Restoration Project Cost for "Materials Only" -
Labor donated by NAMC (National Assoc. of Minority Contractors), NJ Chapter
- Pres.
Yocontalie. Jackson
  • Repair existing Hairpin fence
  • Replace cyclone fence w/Hairpin fence
  • Repair benches with weather resisted Trex type seating
  • Add D.D. Butler Historical Marker
  • Install granite base and new granite Veteran Headstones
  • Replace Cemetery plaque (granite)
  • Resurface walkways with yellow or sandy color chipped marble
  • Minor landscaping
  • Solar flagpole light
Estimated cost for repairs - $14,500.00

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Butler Cemetery Website Has A New Address!!

Butler Cemetery Website Has A New Address!

Simple and consistent with the blog address .....

Log in and check out the restoration targets, review the list of interred, and Dempsey Butler history points.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Legacy is shared at the 2010 National Storytellers League Convention!

This year I was asked to participate as a Psalmist during the National Storytellers League Convention held at the Marriott Hotel located downtown, Trenton, NJ, July 8-11.

The National Storytellers League ( ) is an organization that encourages the appreciation of the good and beautiful of life and literature through the art of storytelling. The NSL promotes an interest in the oral story and encourages the organization of storytelling groups. Their theme this year was "Storytelling: An Ancient Art Forever New".

During the convention Butler Cemetery history, handouts and calendars were on display to promote, “share the Butler Legacy” and inform attendees of restoration efforts. I expressed through song the quest for "freedom", honoring US Veterans, deceased and active. Highlighting those such as, William Murray; interred at Butler Cemetery. Murray denounced his slave existence as "John Sykes", fled a Maryland Plantation to fight for freedom in the Civil War, and enlisted as a Pvt., in Co. D 45th Regt US Col. Vol. Inf. at Camp William Penn in Pennsylvania on June 15, 1864.

A special THANK YOU to Willingboro NJ, Genealogist/Researcher and Author of "Common Threads", Robert House (L) and NSL Members for their support! Especially Mr. House, he was instrumental in my participation at the NSL convention.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lift Every Voice and Sing presented by Balm In Gilead

This is presentation embodies the Legacy and Vision of Dempsey Butler.... Let us all embrace the pathways made straight by him for the betterment of future generations.

Hope you had a great JULY 4TH!

Honor the Legacy please make a donation. Thank you!

Monday, May 31, 2010

It's another days journey .... bringing us to Memorial Day 2010. Sunday morning Mr. Herbie Hicks, a War Veteran, advised that he and others from his VFW Post  stopped by Butler this morning and placed flags on all the graves! I thanked him for not forgetting these former run away Slaves - turned Civil War Landsmen and Privates.

For their "double" bravery let's HONOR them... let us not forget how they fled the plantations, risking their lives only to risk them again for FREEDOMS WE ALL enjoy!

I sometimes wonder how they did it ... how they escaped. Not everyone was a Harriet Tubman passenger. Who helped these determined men? Did they decide to start running one dusky night? Hopefully more research will uncover the answer.

Have a great Memorial 2010!