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With gloves and trash bags in hand, the students fanned out cleaning up and weeding the final resting place of so many.
Between 8,000 and 10,000 people were buried at the cemetery, many were African-Americans from Washington, D.C. They were buried there for almost 150 years, from 1808 to 1950.
The Mount Zion Memorial Park Foundation is working to change the cemetery into a memorial park.
"It's not being honored; it's sacred ground," foundation executive director Lisa Fager told WRC. "These people worked for all the people who established this country, congressional members. They built the buildings, and it just feels so sad that we have not been able to say their names or remember them."