service project

Lane Street Project: Season 4 is coming!

Season 4 starts in a little more than two weeks.

Just a reminder that we’re asking community groups to “sponsor” clean-up dates. No money required — just a commitment to showing up with some folks and some cutting tools and maybe some coffee! We’ll meet you there! Many thanks to Scarborough House Resort for signing up first!

Lane Street Project: thank you!

My deep gratitude to Preservation of Wilson, the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Senior Force (and visiting grandson!), and all who came out for today’s workday!

There are only four scheduled clean-ups left in Season 3. We welcome all organizations to join the work of Lane Street Project in reclaiming and restoring historic Odd Fellows Cemetery. Wilson’s history lies here.

Photo courtesy of Anne Sauerborn Joyner. 

Lane Street Project: sponsor a marker.

Want to help Lane Street Project, but you’re nowhere near Wilson? Adopt a headstone!

For the discounted rate of $50, Foster Stone and Cemetery Care will clean, stabilize, and reset a headstone in Odd Fellows or Rountree Cemeteries. Billy Foster has more than “20 years of experience honoring the memory of loved ones” and in just a few weeks has already transformed the appearance of Odd Fellows. 

Newly cleaned and reset grave markers gleaming in the evening light. Photo courtesy of Billy Foster, Foster Stone and Cemetery Care.

These markers are among those available for sponsorship:

  • Hood S. Phillips

Hood S. Phillips was a barber. His wife Phillis Phillips was probably buried nearby, but we have not yet found her marker. Phillips’ marker will be cleaned and set upright, and the small collapsed area at the grave filled in.

  • Walter M. Foster 

Walter M. Foster‘s beautiful white marble headstone has a splintered corner that needs repair. Foster worked as a fireman (one who tended the fire to run a boiler, heat a building, or power a steam engine) for Hackney Wagon Company. 

  • Lula Dew Wooten

Lula Dew Wooten‘s headstone is perhaps my favorite in all of Odd Fellows. A simple rectangle with softly rounded shoulders and delicate engraving, the marker needs only cleaning and straightening. Wooten was a dressmaker, and her husband Simeon Wooten is likely buried nearby.

  • Nettie Foster

Nettie Foster‘s headstone badly needs cleaning.

  • H.B. Taylor

H.B. Taylor has not been identified. (He was not Rev. Halley B. Taylor, minister of Calvary Presbyterian Church for several years.) Taylor’s marker, which bears symbols of both the Masons and Odd Fellows, needs cleaning and straightening.

If you’re interested in sponsoring these or another marker, you can CashApp fifty dollars to $blackwideawake, Venmo to @lanestreetproject, or email me at to arrange payment otherwise. Contributions less than $50 will be pooled — so no amount is too small!

Lane Street Project: thank you, WNCT9!

It’s up, folks!! I could talk about Lane Street Project all day, and WNCT9 journalist Ryan Harper generously captured 16 minutes’ worth of my passion. I appreciate the opportunity to introduce more eastern North Carolinians to what LSP volunteers are doing and why —  and to enlist your help!

Video link here.

Lane Street Project: Season 3, January 14.

Season 3’s first workday was a success!

Our usual multiracial, multigenerational collection of local volunteers was augmented by a several out-of-town guests, including a large group from AgBiome in Research Triangle Park, invited by LSP committee member Raven S. Farmer!

Looking into Odd Fellows cemetery near the Thomas family plot. Two years ago, there was a solid wall of shrubs, vines, and saplings just beyond Sarah Thomas’ headstone at left. At the beginning of last year, there was an impenetrable tangle of honeysuckle and wisteria in the middle distance. Thanks to all who’ve helped us get this far!

Sincere Wright, his son Israel, Raven S. Farmer, and Briggs Sherwood — ready to receive our guest volunteers!

yesterday morning. 

Clearing last summer’s wisteria growth around Hood Phillips‘ headstone.

Some of yesterday’s volunteers, including the AgBiome crew!

Ready for pick-up!

The next three workdays are January 28, February 11, and February 25!

Photos courtesy of Raven S. Farmer, Castonoble Hooks, and Sincere Wright.

Lane Street Project: our story.

Technological miscues last night prevented me from reaching the question-and-answer portion of my LSP presentation, but I did manage to record my exposition on the history of the Lane Street Project cemeteries and the Project itself. Please send me any questions you have about our work, and I’ll answer promptly.

The Season 3 kick-off clean-up is Saturday, January 14, and we hope to see you there!

Lane Street Project: the environment.

I understand that poking around in cemeteries is not for everyone. Might I interest you, then, in a creek cleanup?

This is Sandy Creek. Yesterday, just past Rountree Cemetery, I shepherded a snapping turtle from the middle of street to the curb, then watched it tip itself headlong into this filth. Like the other waterways of East Wilson — branches of Hominy Swamp and Toisnot Swamp — the pollution in Sandy Creek is atrocious. That any animal, much less one as large and ancient as a dinner-plate-sized turtle, is able to survive in this soup is a miracle, but does life need to be so hard?