Lexington honors its African American history, dedicating improvements at Evergreen Cemetery
LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - A ribbon-cutting at Lexington’s Evergreen Cemetery Wednesday afternoon celebrated improvements, including reconstruction of the entrance gate and landscaping, long overdue.
“I told somebody today, that sometimes I think I hear them in my ear saying, Don’t leave us here looking like this. Do something now,” said Lexington Vice-Mayor Marylin Alexander.
And speakers paid tribute to the history represented in the rows of headstones on the hillside behind them.
“A cemetery that tells a great story of particularly African American lawyers, writers, soldiers,” said Historic Lexington Executive Director Don Hasfurther.
The city of Lexington has owned Evergreen Cemetery since it opened in the 1880s.
Two years ago, when the city council voted to rename Stonewall Jackson Cemetery Oak Grove, leaders focused fresh attention on Evergreen, the city’s historic African-American cemetery.
“It’s not nationally known,” Alexander told the group that gathered for the ribbon-cutting. “It doesn’t have revered historical figures perhaps, buried here, but each person buried here was a hero to families in our black community.”
And Alexander said this was not just a moment to salute the work that has been accomplished, but an opportunity to bring honor, attention and a higher level of respect to the generations that have been buried at Evergreen Cemetery since the late 19th century.
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