Lane Street Project: one of the few gravestones at Vick.

This 1991 article about the city’s clean-up activity at Vick Cemetery prior to the 1995 gravestone removal includes the only known photograph of its headstones. It is unattributed. Was this one of the photos Charles Pittman showed council two years later?  

The image depicts a substantial white marble monument that likely dates from the first twenty or thirty years of the cemetery when this type of rooftop obelisk marker was in common use for people who could afford them. In the first half of the twentieth century, Wilson’s wealthiest African-Americans were often Masons or Odd Fellows and were buried in those fraternal organization’s cemeteries. Not all who could afford headstones were lodge members though, and there is no reason not to believe that in its heyday Vick was not substantially populated with headstones. If only ten percent of graves were buried (and that seems a low percentage, though I have no basis for calculation), there would have been more than 400 headstones.

By the way, Earl Bradbury’s assertion that the Commission did not keep records for Vick because it did not kn0w the city owned the cemetery is preposterous. 

My thanks to Joan L. Howell for sharing this article. 

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