WACO, Texas – The Greenwood Cemetery is the second oldest cemetery in Waco – and now after spending $435,000, the cemetery has been brought into the 21st century.
The cemetery has had a complicated past.
“It was a cemetery that was looked upon as being a black cemetery, but it was a black and white cemetery. The black part of the cemetery was wide open, and the white part was fenced off very nice,” says Noah Jackson Jr., a former Council member.
The graveyard was created in 1875, and is considered one of Waco’s oldest cemeteries – but it also served as a grim reminder.
“This is the home and the final resting place for some of Waco’s most celebrated citizens, and the fact that it was a segregated cemetery was just a painful reminder of all the inequality that has existed over our community in the past,” says Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver.
The community set out to change this.
“We took down the fence several years back, and that’s all it was. It is a beautiful sight. This property was here for many years. It was thought of as a low-income property that no one wanted. Then some citizens from this community went in, and our mortuary people went in, and bought some of this property and turned it from lots into burial spaces,” says Jackson, Jr.
Now the entire cemetery has been placed under the care of the City of Waco, and is sporting new arched entrances and an iron fence.
“It was the advocacy and leadership of families, citizens and former cemetery association members that helped bring focus to the issues and support the pursuit of a solution to better exemplify Waco’s values of family and equality,” says Andrea Barefield, a Waco City Councilwoman.