College Park Cemetery


College Park Cemetery

College Memorial Park cemetery is an old black cemetery founded in 1896 on Houston's west end by Buffalo Bayou Park. I went here recently on a class trip to get to know more about history first had. A lot of times people tend to view history in books or on Wikipedia. Rarely do people get to experience and touch history first hand. It is important to understand our history and to feel and touch it. Because we can't know where we are going unless we know where we came from.

The cemetery has a long and storied history here in Houston. Like may southern cities in the old south Houston was a segregated city. As such blacks and whites often ended up in different resting places. As was typical of he day the whites had the nice well kept cemetery over in Glenwood while the blacks had to do with a cast off piece of land on the outskirts of town. The black community did what they could to maintain their small piece of land but after the last recorded burial in 1972 the cemetery fells into disuse and became abandoned.

Only recently in the past few years has there been a concerned effort to preserve the cemetery and restore it to it's former glory. The park is currently being maintained by the College Park Cemetery Association.

This is one of three historical markers in the graveyard. As more research is done about the people buried here a great many more markers may appear soon.

As you can see they are trying to mark the plots better. I wonder if Augmented Technology could help in restoring this park. That would be an interesting project.

A baby's gravemarker. Note the lamb on top.

The painted trees are attempts to get the dead trees to decay faster.

Interesting story here about these two plots. These are the plots of Sergeant Henry and Private Watson. They died in the Houston Riots of 1917. The graves were lost to time until recently and now new grave markers are being commissioned. I wonder if I should come back in August and photograph the event.

Seeing these markers on the ground is sad when you think about it. Many of the people here were shown no respect during their lives, and in their deaths they still didn't get any respect.

This really is impressive artwork.

This is what happens when you don't maintain a graveyard for 40 odd years. :(

This wasn't just a school trip though. We got to do work! They had a list of 350 people whose plot locations were found. As a result we had to mark the plots with little flags for future reference.

The map. This really should be digitized.

It's like a big scavenger hunt!

This is a little sad to see that some graves are almost in the street but it is to be expected in a graveyard over 100 years old.

Lucky dice. Over in Freedmen's town in what is Houston's 4th Ward dice were often found at the intersections of the brick streets. Why these dice were there nobody knew. But when they decided to build a new brick fence around the cemetery they decided to play homage to that tradition by placing die into the mortar of the wall. This would make for a nice wallpaper.