Many thanks to George Edward Freeney Jr. for use of this photograph of Odd Fellows Cemetery.
It’s the season in which Odd Fellows Cemetery’s principal scourge is at its most charming, dripping shimmery lavender racemes. In two seasons, though, Lane Street Project volunteers have flushed the wisteria from the treetops, and its showy flowers now appear only at the edges of the woods.
Removal of a few decades of leaf litter has exposed the dense lattice of wisteria that scores the forest floor above and below ground.
Now that the canopy’s been cleared, increased sunlight is spurring the rampant growth of young wisteria shoots.
Toward the back of Odd Fellows, thick ropes of wisteria continue to strangle trees.
Please consider joining us for a cemetery cleanup. The next two are scheduled for April 9 and 23. Thank you!
The headstones of Della Hines Barnes and Dave Barnes, Odd Fellows Cemetery, September 2021.
- Join a clean-up.
- Bring a friend.
- Amplify our message.
- Follow Lane Street Project on Instagram or Facebook.
- Drop off coffee or hot chocolate or water for volunteers working at a clean-up.
- Bring doughnuts or other snacks to a clean-up.
- Donate money [Cashapp $blackwideawake] for supplies, tools, equipment, and professional services.
- Donate supplies, tools, equipment, and professional services.
- Bring a group of your church members to a clean-up.
- Visit and pay your respects.
- Leave flowers.
- Fill a bag with trash or debris.
- Cut 25 wisteria vines.
- Photograph a headstone and record its information.
- Record a headstone’s GPS location.
- Clear a section of fence.
- Tag us: #lanestreetproject
- Bring your fraternity or sorority members to a clean-up.
- Interview an elder about their memories of the cemeteries.
- Pay for a roll-off bin for a clean-up day.
- Bring your classmates to a clean-up.
- Wear a mask.
- Bring your alumni group to a clean-up.
- “Adopt” a grave or family plot, and keep it clean and neat.
- Bring your co-workers to a clean-up.
- Pour libations.
- Find out if you have people buried here.
- Speak truth to power.
- Bring your motorcycle club to a clean-up.
- Pray for the thousands buried in Odd Fellows, Vick, and Rountree Cemeteries.
- Honor your ancestors.
- Bring your fellow veterans to a clean-up. (There are many buried here.)
- Ask your councilperson to support efforts to reclaim Odd Fellows Cemetery.
- Buy Lane Street Project merchandise. The proceeds will benefit clean-up work.
- Bring your fellow Masons or Eastern Stars to a clean-up.
- Help us install fence art.
- Ask your councilperson to support efforts to redress harm done to Vick Cemetery.
- Ask us what we need.
- Bring your Scout troop or other youth group to a clean-up.
- Read about the histories of Wilson’s African-American cemeteries in Black Wide-Awake.
- Observe safety rules when working a clean-up.
- Watch your step.
- STOP DUMPING.
- Clean headstones with water and a soft-bristled brush ONLY. No detergent. No soap.
- Ride by every once in a while and let us know if anything needs to be taken care of.
- Bring your social club to a clean-up.
- Teach your children and students about local African-American history.
- Be careful not to lean on headstones. Some are unstable, and if they fall you will be hurt.
- Share your thoughts about the futures of the cemeteries.
- Come again.
Lane Street Project’s public work kicked into gear in December 2020 with the discovery of Samuel H. Vick‘s long-lost grave marker. We carefully unearthed and cleaned it, and several volunteers have worked extra-diligently to uproot the layers of wisteria runners that encase it. However, wisteria fights hard, and this is what it looked like this morning.
Paige Nelson has been one of Lane Street Project’s staunchest volunteers. Her time as an LDS missionary in Wilson has ended, but she, her family, and the Wilson Ward continue to support LSP in ways large and small. On Saturday, May 15, please come to the last clean-up of Season 1, buy a teeshirt, and help preserve Wilson’s sacred spaces! Let’s end the season the way we started — strong!
Finally — a warm community clean-up day!
Please come out to Odd Fellows Cemetery on April 10 and 24 and join your neighbors in the clean-up of three historic African-American cemeteries. All are welcome!
This month, we really need your help:
- Pruning shrubs and limbing up hollies around the Vick Cemetery monument
- Cutting wisteria stumps in Odd Fellows Cemetery close to the ground for later defoliation treatment
- Clearing underbrush and removing trash
- Recording GPS coordinates for each grave marker (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in this task)
Please protect yourself on-site — masks required, boots and gloves strongly encouraged.
As always, THANK YOU!
Help Lane Street Project get in a few more good clean-ups before spring changes the landscape. Pick a date (or both!), pick a shift (or both), and bring a friend (or many)!
I wrote here about my recent discovery of my great-grandmother’s headstone in Odd Fellows cemetery. She is not alone. Like everyone with deep roots in Black Wilson, I have many relatives buried in the three Lane Street Project graveyards. Mine include:
Henry M. Barnes (1911-1912), my cousin
Ned R. Barnes (1869-1912), my great-great-uncle
Henrietta G. Taylor (1893-1916), my great-aunt
Jesse Barnes (1867-1916), my great-great-uncle
William Barnes (1879-1917), my great-great-uncle
Hennie L. Taylor (1916-1917), my cousin
Wesley Barnes (1865-1919), my great-great-uncle
Mary Barnes Jones (1876-1919), my great-great-aunt
Charles Barnes (1896-1919), my cousin
Mattie Barnes Hines (1895-1922), my cousin
Ethel G. Barnes (1915-1923), my cousin
Rachel Barnes Taylor (1863-1925), my great-grandmother
Warland Barnes (1907-1926), my cousin
H. Michael Taylor (1861-1927), my great-grandfather
Infant Henderson (1928-1928), my uncle
Jesse Henderson Jr. (1928-1929), my cousin
Jerrell R. Barnes (1909-1929), my cousin
Archie Henderson (1926-1930), my cousin
Ned J. Barnes (1899-1931), my cousin
Thomas Perry (1909-1932), my cousin
At noon on February 20, during our next clean-up, Lane Street Project will conduct a candle lighting ceremony to recognize and give thanks to the ancestors — both remembered and forgotten — buried in Rountree, Odd Fellows, and Vick. Please join us.