Star Cemetery, Shreveport LA

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Star Cemetery
2100 Texas Street

On June 22, 1883 a group of fourteen African Americans bought ten acres from Andrew Currie, paying $350 for the land on which they wanted to bury their dead. The men were incorporated as the Star Cemetery Association, many of which in signing the agreement simply made their marks. This group disbanded in 1939, mortgaging the property to Commercial National Bank, which became AmSouth Bank after a change in ownership. Star was the first African-American cemetery in Shreveport.

In 1965 the city saw that Star Cemetery was terribly overgrown and the city began its upkeep. Many of the graves date to the late 1800s. The city is not permitted to dig at Star because it is condemned because of its poor condition. The cemetery, which was grown up and deteriorating, was restored in 1968 under the Public Safety and Public Utilities Commissions.

In July of 1992 vandals broke open above-ground vaults in the cemetery, opening coffins, removing skulls, and using the vaults as an area to burn papers.

African-American Multicultural Tourist Commission applied to get the cemetery registered with the National Register of Historic Places. It was placed on the register in January of 2002, one of only nine cemeteries on the National Register.

Several of the tombstones mark those who died in World War I.

J. S. Williams, the founder of J. S. Williams and Sons Funeral Home is buried in Star Cemetery, along with Reverend Luke Allen, Sr. and his wife, Cora M. Allen, who was the president and founder of the Louisiana Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. Reverend Thomas Luke, the founder of Galilee Baptist Church, is also buried here.

Greenwood Cemetery, Birmingham, AL – 16th Street Bombing Victims

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When Greenwood’s owners went bankrupt, they abandoned the grounds, leaving the cemetery marred by exposed bones, sunken graves and toppled tombstones. The city took over Greenwood in the 1990’s, sponsoring several cleanups and paving a road there.

I have tried to research the history about this cemetery but have only discovered that it is the oldest African-American cemetery either in AL or in Birmingham. There isn’t much information available on-line. I have read good and bad about this cemetery. However when I visited in July of 2013, expecting the worst, the grass was cut and landscaping neat. It was clean and I didn’t see trash about. It appeared that the city is doing their best to maintain perpetual care. I’ve seen much worse.

What makes this cemetery special, is that there are three of the 16th Street Baptist Church murdered victims buried there. Without an office to ask for help, I was luck that after walking around for a while I was able to locate their graves.

It was thirty years before Addie’s sisters could bear to visit her grave, and when they saw its neglected state, they immediately arranged to have Addie Mae moved to another, better maintained cemetery. However, workers who opened the grave recoiled in shock: It was empty devoid of casket and corpse. No one can know with certainty who took the body or why.

Trentham Cemetery Gatlinburg, TN

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My visit to the Trentham Cemetery in Gatlinburg, TN. I photographed the entire cemetery. If anyone wants any family headstone pictures I am happy to email them to you. Not all headstones are in the video. Some stones were very worn and I could not see the name on the stone.

St Philips African Moravian Church, Winston-Salem, NC

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Constructed 1861 with 1890 addition, restored 2004. Historic St. Philips Church is the oldest African American church still standing in the state of North Carolina and one of the earliest in the entire country. Built for the African American congregation, the church matched most of the other churches in the area built at the same time with the large brick, Greek Revival style.
The church was expanded in 1890 with the need to add more classroom space downstairs and above in the balcony. The church extended out into the graveyard, which later caused structural issues on the front walls.

The congregation moved out of the building in the 1952, and the church sat vacant until restored for use as part of Old Salem Museums & Gardens tours. The steeple, which had been removed in the 1920s was part of the exterior restoration. The original pews and other details are back in place inside the building.