cemetery cleanup

Lane Street Project: wisteria, four ways.

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!

50 ways you can help Lane Street Project.

The headstones of Della Hines Barnes and Dave Barnes, Odd Fellows Cemetery, September 2021.

  1. Join a clean-up.
  2. Bring a friend.
  3. Amplify our message.
  4. Follow Lane Street Project on Instagram or Facebook.
  5. Drop off coffee or hot chocolate or water for volunteers working at a clean-up.
  6. Bring doughnuts or other snacks to a clean-up.
  7. Donate money [Cashapp $blackwideawake] for supplies, tools, equipment, and professional services.
  8. Donate supplies, tools, equipment, and professional services.
  9. Bring a group of your church members to a clean-up.
  10. Visit and pay your respects.
  11. Leave flowers.
  12. Fill a bag with trash or debris.
  13. Cut 25 wisteria vines.
  14. Photograph a headstone and record its information.
  15. Record a headstone’s GPS location.
  16. Clear a section of fence.
  17. Tag us: #lanestreetproject
  18. Bring your fraternity or sorority members to a clean-up.
  19. Interview an elder about their memories of the cemeteries.
  20. Pay for a roll-off bin for a clean-up day.
  21. Bring your classmates to a clean-up.
  22. Wear a mask.
  23. Bring your alumni group to a clean-up.
  24. “Adopt” a grave or family plot, and keep it clean and neat.
  25. Bring your co-workers to a clean-up.
  26. Pour libations.
  27. Find out if you have people buried here.
  28. Speak truth to power.
  29. Bring your motorcycle club to a clean-up.
  30. Pray for the thousands buried in Odd Fellows, Vick, and Rountree Cemeteries.
  31. Honor your ancestors.
  32. Bring your fellow veterans to a clean-up. (There are many buried here.)
  33. Ask your councilperson to support efforts to reclaim Odd Fellows Cemetery.
  34. Buy Lane Street Project merchandise. The proceeds will benefit clean-up work.
  35. Bring your fellow Masons or Eastern Stars to a clean-up.
  36. Help us install fence art.
  37. Ask your councilperson to support efforts to redress harm done to Vick Cemetery.
  38. Ask us what we need.
  39. Bring your Scout troop or other youth group to a clean-up.
  40. Read about the histories of Wilson’s African-American cemeteries in Black Wide-Awake.
  41. Observe safety rules when working a clean-up.
  42. Watch your step.
  43. STOP DUMPING.
  44. Clean headstones with water and a soft-bristled brush ONLY. No detergent. No soap.
  45. Ride by every once in a while and let us know if anything needs to be taken care of.
  46. Bring your social club to a clean-up.
  47. Teach your children and students about local African-American history.
  48. Be careful not to lean on headstones. Some are unstable, and if they fall you will be hurt.
  49. Share your thoughts about the futures of the cemeteries.
  50. Come again.

Lane Street Project: coda.

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.

Charles Eric Jones‘ care, storage, and transport of Lane Street Project’s tool collection has been critical to the success of Season One. So, too, his commitment to show up early and stay late for every workday. His words today:
“Good afternoon from the Lane Street Project. This is the last joint clean-up before the summer. I have truly enjoyed working out here giving back to the ancestors,
who were the builders of East Wilson and who my elementary school was named after. I could not leave without freeing [Sam Vick’s] headstone and cutting the grass to help it look better. Thanks to all the good people I have met during this project, and I look forward to doing more. I pray that the Creator continues to Bless you and your family. Yours in Peace. CJ”
I owe everything to women and men like Charles Jones, without whom these cemetery clean-ups would have remained fervent, but unrealized, dreams. Lane Street Project is too big for one person, or a dozen, or even a hundred. We need you — your time, your energy, your ideas, your support. See you for Season Two, rested and ready to reclaim this sacred space!
——
Heartfelt thanks to the faithful and upright Portia Newman; Brittany Daniel; Joyah Bulluck; LaMonique Hamilton; Castonoble Hooks; Raven Farmer; Craig Barnes Jr.; Charles Jones; Dr. Judy Rashid; Rev. Kim Reives; Mayor Carlton Stevens; Briggs Sherwood; Julia Newton; Mike Witting and Alliance Forestry, Inc.; Drew Wilson; Will Corbett; Greg Boseman; the Wilson Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; Barbara Hansen; Councilman Derrick Creech; Joseph Story; Tyrone Speight; Laurie McBriarty-Sisk; Brandon and Kayla Nelson; Vicki Cowan; Brian and Erin Hollaway Palmer and Melissa Pocock of Friends of East End; Adam Rosenblatt of Friends of Geer Cemetery; Perry Morrison; Charlie Farris; and each and every LSP volunteer, donor, and supporter this Season One. 
Photos courtesy of Charles E. Jones.

Lane Street Project: season 1’s last clean-up.

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!

Lane Street Project: April clean-up schedule.

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 lanestreetproject@gmail.com if you’re interested in this task)

Please protect yourself on-site — masks required, boots and gloves strongly encouraged. 

As always, THANK YOU!

Lane Street Project: my Rountree.

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.