Even In Death Veterans Must Not Be Forgotten
Nestled in the shadows of Houston's Fifth Ward located east of downtown sits the historic Evergreen Negro Cemetery. There are broken white picket fences between the west and east sections of the cemetery separated by Lockwood Drive. Lockwood Drive was extended through the cemetery in 1960. Many of the graves were lost, moved, paved over, or through. It is estimated that the City of Houston removed 490 graves for the development and expansion.
The original land for the cemetery was designated by the cotton plantation that once stood at the intersection of Lockwood Drive and Market Street. The land was converted into one of the city 's first Negro cemeteries around 1893. Evergreen Negro Cemetery is the third oldest African American cemetery in Houston.
Today, the cemetery contains hundreds of unmarked, abandoned, and overgrown graves that contain the remains of hundreds of African American former slaves, Buffalo Soldiers, and World War I Veterans. I believe that even in death our veterans deserve respect. They should not be forgotten. As of today June 18, 2014, all the military headstones still contain the reefs that were placed on them in December.
There are no historical markers or signs to mark the historical resting place for African American Buffalo Soldiers and World War I Veterans buried in the the Historic Evergreen Negro Cemetery, only the hand painted one Project Respect.
The Evergreen Negro Cemetery contains the remains of soldiers who fought and died for this country 's freedom during a time of segregation and discrimination. If one was black, the only option he or she had for a final resting place was a cemetery designated for Negros regardless of his or her socioeconomic status or contributions and sacrifices made to fight for freedom in this country and overseas.
The current condition of this historic site and city treasure is truly a disgrace to the City of Houston and the African American Community. If the City of Houston could afford to develop and expand Lockwood Drive through the center of the cemetery in 1960, truly in 2014, it could afford to have the cemetery restored.
If one visits the Veteran Memorial Cemetery, there are a few things a visitor will not find-unmarked graves, headstones covered with weeds, broken headstones, dug up graves, sinking graves, handmade signs, dead reefs, weeds, or broken fences. The Veterans Memorial Cemetery is perfectly maintained and secured to honor our veterans. There are onsite staff and care takers to ensure that it is maintained to the highest level possible. The graves are well tended and the landscape is beautiful and grassy.
Shouldn't all veterans have a final resting place just as well tended with beautiful grassy landscape?
Keywords: African American, Buffalo, Cemetery, Negro, Slaves, Soldiers, Veteran, World War I, sacrifice
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