On Saturday morning, October 28, students and faculty from Episcopal travelled to River Lake Plantation, in Oscar, LA, to help a community beautify Mt. Zion River Lake Cemetery – a cemetery surrounded by cane fields and covered by beautiful oak and giant pecan trees. Ernest Gaines, a well-known, influential author of African-American and Southern literature, annually invites people to clean the grounds of this cemetery and to whitewash the graves of five generations of the Gaines’ family. Some of the graves are unmarked; some of the graves even date back to slavery. After caring for the sacred ground, all participants are invited to Gaines’ home where they tour the church/school in his backyard, eat a hearty meal, and meet him in person. Students enrolled in Faith in Southern literature particularly enjoyed hearing Gaines discuss a few of the characters from his novel A Lesson Before Dying. Gaines once commented, “I hope this place [Mt. Zion River Lake Cemetery] will be here forever. This is my prayer. This is my hope." What a wonderful opportunity for our students and faculty to help keep that hope alive!