Texas is a state known to have amongst the largest of cemeteries and burial grounds in the United States. The numbers are at an estimate of around 50,000 cemeteries (Texas State Historical Association 1). The history and historical artifacts that can be found in these cemeteries are vast and relevant to the study of history. These cemeteries date back to the time when Indians had settled on the land. Harris County, found in Texas has an approximate of 150 cemeteries (Ancestry community 1). This essay will focus on the Evergreen Negro cemetery in Harris County. It will also highlight the importance of preserving the Evergreen Negro cemetery as a historical site.
The ever green Negro cemetery location is at where Lockwood Drive and Market Street meet. It came into existence in the early 1800 and was among the largest cemetery dedicated to the black community at that time. The place where the cemetery is located was initially a large cotton plantation field. Until its rediscovery and registering in 1985, the cemetery was heading for extinction. Some parts of the cemetery have even disappeared after the Lockwood drive became expanded in a way that it passed in the middle of the cemetery. This cemetery is essential for historical preservation as it contains black slaves and veterans who fought in the First World War.
The Evergreen Negro cemetery might have had black soldiers named buffalo soldiers buried in this cemetery. The Indians nick named the black soldiers as the buffalo soldiers to signify how brave they were in going into war. These individuals found in the cemetery may have fought in the 9th and 10th Calvary units. These units were part of the United States military.
The black soldiers who fought in the 9th and 10th Calvary war helped Americans in the war against the Indians. The black soldiers' acceptance into the army came after they had a confrontation with the Cheyenne Indians. It was after this that a black soldier unit became established, and nick named as buffalo soldiers. They later formed the 9th and 10th Calvary.
The 9th Calvary of black soldiers was extremely helpful in helping American government in fighting of the Indian wars. The group's involvement extended even into other minor wars such as the Johnson county war. This was a war of small farmers against large scale rancher (Leckie & Leckie 33). The army sent buffalo soldier to the location to help eradicate those that were causing the war. The soldiers were also helpful during the Spanish war.
The cemetery also has soldiers who fought in the World War I. The black soldiers though were not actively involved in the First World War. The army only utilized the black soldiers as handy men and for servicing the troops. There was an instance during the war that the government called upon the 9th Calvary group of soldiers to protect the country from the Mexican invasion. In the Second World War, the buffalo soldiers were fully incorporated to service along with other militants.
The cemetery also has slaves buried in the cemetery. The time that these slaves were present cotton farming was flourishing. The owners of these cotton plantations needed a source of cheap labor. The blacks who were on the run required a place where they could work. This led most of them to be taken as slaves in the cotton plantations. The cemetery also had contributed to the history of the time when Texas was under the Mexican rule. The Mexican rule allowed for an in flow of Anglo settlers in Texas. This rule also largely favored and encouraged slavery. This region then began to attract black settlement in the area as free backs were now receiving and buying their own land. Slavery in Texas was later to be abolished.
The cemetery is also of importance as it acts as a historical reminder of when blacks began to settle around the area. The community has since been regarded by many as one of the most proud black neighborhood. The community was also accommodating and allowed for different social classes of African Americans to exist peacefully (Rodriguez 10). The community also has one of the oldest churches around, which had its origin from the blacks. This, therefore, shows the relationship that exists between the Evergreen Negro cemetery, one of the biggest black cemeteries and the black community.
The Evergreen Negro cemetery has a rich history and helps in describing the settlement and the people who lived in the area. It also bears a large history of the blacks who settled in Texas in the earlier times. The cemetery is also a study reference for many students who are studying history in schools. This is due to the war veterans especially the black soldiers who are buried in the cemetery. It also has historical evidence of presence of slavery in Texas and Harris County. Additionally, it also contributes to the knowledge of establishing the black settlement in the area. It is with this history that we have an insight of the past and compare it with the present and note the changes. An example of a notable change in this community is that presently, it does not have a large black settlement as earlier times.
The Evergreen Negro cemetery has started receiving attention from people and is currently under reservation and preservation. The project RESPECT has had enormous contribution in rehabilitating the cemetery (Project RESPECT 5). Students from the rice university have also joined the rehabilitation efforts. The students engage in activities such as searching for unmarked graves and clearing the cemetery. The aim of this group of people is to restore the cemetery into a historical memorial that will remind them of the soldiers and veterans who fought effortlessly in the war for the country.
The Evergreen Negro cemetery has veterans from the Spanish and World War I. Majority of these soldiers buried in the cemetery though belong to the buffalo soldier group that joined the 9th and 10th Calvary (Harvey 35). The most remarkable of the veterans buried in these cemeteries is Private George H Lofton, who died in April 1939. His grave is in a bushy and poorly maintained area. There are also, other soldiers, buried in the cemetery but who had not achieved the levels that private Lofton had achieved. There are also some soldiers who do not have the military mark on their gravestones. Private Lofton was a member of the buffalo soldier group. His gravestone bears the largest representation of the Evergreen Negro cemetery. There are also other soldiers buried in the cemetery; they include frank Wilson, frank Edwards and Samuel Thornton. These soldiers were all black soldiers and may have died with little or no recognition.
The Evergreen Negro cemetery is one of the largest black cemeteries. It started in times when the black soldiers and slavery was being practiced in Texas. The people in the cemetery may also have largely contributed to the peace and freedom that the current people living in Houston are enjoying. Apart from contributing to the history of the area, the cemetery has the presence of veterans of war. These veterans deserve proper resting places and where people can honor them regardless of these veterans being of a different race. This cemetery should, therefore, be made a historical site and should be the preserve by the local government in conjunction with the project RESPECT.