public service

Lane Street Project: memorial ribbons.

In the absence of any formal records, I’ve been working on creating a database of known and likely burials in Odd Fellows, Rountree, and Vick Cemeteries. I’ve also been thinking about ways to reinforce in the public imagination Lane Street Project’s reclamation of these sacred spaces.

To date, we have discovered 76 legible grave markers in Odd Fellows. Though there are surely hundreds more, this Black History Month, we will tie memorial ribbons and call the name of each man, woman, and child we know are buried here. They are not forgotten.

Please join us for a pop-up workday, Wednesday, February 8, from 1:00-3:00 PM. I’ll be in town; hope to see you there.

Lane Street Project: building community.

In honor of Black History Month, Preservation of Wilson‘s members will join Lane Street Project volunteers for our 25 February workday. We love to see it!

LSP invites groups seeking an opportunity to create community and positive change in Wilson to help us document and reclaim historic Odd Fellows Cemetery. All are welcome!

Lane Street Project: please join us.

Standing at the edge of Odd Fellows Cemetery gazing into the jungle of Rountree Cemetery. The green and red are new sprouts of wisteria, which will be in its riotous, ruinous lavender glory in a few weeks. Fifteen months ago, much of Odd Fellows looked like this. The weather has not been kind to our cleanup schedule this year, please help us make the most of the remainder of Season 2.

Next dates: March 26, April 9, April 23.

Lane Street Project: goals, no. 1.

Richmond, Virginia’s Friends of East End Cemetery is out here doing the Lord’s work. Their journey is both inspiration and cautionary tale for the Lane Street Project.

For example:

The City of Wilson denied Vick Cemetery, then destroyed it. Rountree and Odd Fellows cemeteries have been neglected by their respective owners for more than half a century. The evidence of well-meaning, but illy executed, attempts to bring order to abandonment are strewn across the forest floor of those burial grounds — stacks of toppled grave markers, footstones bereft of headstones, piles of worn and broken marble.

To paraphrase a common folk-truth, these cemeteries can do bad all by themselves. The aim of Lane Street Project is to reclaim and restore, not to do further damage. Thus, until money and expertise are secured, clean up will be limited to loppers and pruners and trash bags. I’m shooting for a December or January date. Please stay tuned. 

Dr. Judy Rashid recently left flowers in memory of her infant sister, who was buried in Rountree or Vick Cemetery in 1949.