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.
The original bulbs of these daffodils were planted in Odd Fellows Cemetery 70-125 years ago.
My visits to Wilson have not generally aligned well with LSP clean-ups, but this one did, and I was elated to join the last Black History Month effort at Odd Fellows. I am grateful to everyone who came out, including the cadre of Wilson Police Department officers that showed up early and stayed late to fell dead pines in the woods and clear winter’s dead weeds from the front; the pastors and members of Saint Timothy’s and Saint Mark’s Episcopal Churches; Our Wilson Mentoring; the Wilson Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (as always!); Wilson Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; Total Impact Church (who brought barbecue lunches!); WhirliDogs; Seeds of Hope; and — surprise! — a group of students from East Carolina University’s Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, who came to Wilson to work at Seeds of Hope’s community garden and were steered over to Odd Fellows to learn a little Wilson history and help us out!
A cautionary word, though. Safety first. Please, PLEASE don’t lean on monuments. After 100+ years, many are unstable. Henry Tart‘s obelisk, the largest in Odd Fellows, was accidentally toppled Saturday. Fortunately, no one was standing behind it when it fell, as they would have been seriously injured. The obelisk was not damaged, but will have to remain where it is until we can secure professional help to stabilize the base and reset the shaft and pyramidion.
Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2022.
Wilson Daily Times, 19 February 1935.
“If you want to do something beautiful, do this. If you want to do something healing, do this. If you want to learn about Black History in Wilson, go here. I participated in this project last year, and those were my takeaways.” — Mahalia Witter-Merithew
“Working with the Lane Street Project has added to my understanding of the past, love of the present, and hope for our future.” — Castonoble Hooks
PLEASE JOIN US!
Lane Street Project lived in my head and in this blog until I asked for help and received it in abundance. I am effusive in my praise of and gratitude towards all who have lent hearts and hands to this project, but I have not always been at ease in spotlights or with accepting compliments comfortably. Thus, my agonizing about sharing the Facebook post below. Lane Street Project has bestowed many gifts, however, not the least of which is clarity of purpose. As we enter Season II of the Odd Fellows clean-up, I am grateful for recognition and encouragement from all who have committed time, labor, money, and other support to our mission.
So — my most sincere thanks to Castonoble Hooks and the Senior Force, the backbone of Season II! And thanks to Chris Facey for this shot of me standing in a thicket of wisteria, clutching my great-grandmother’s headstone on the first anniversary of its discovery!
P.S. I found Rachel Barnes Taylor‘s headstone face down in a stack of about twenty grave markers. One of this season’s goals is to cut away the wisteria and privet around this pile so that we can begin to probe under the soil’s surface for additional stones. There are so many ways to help us achieve our goals — come out and cut vines, bring coffee, send money [CashApp $blackwideawake], share our flyers! Thank you!
Jerome De Perlinghi’s Eyes on Main Street has enriched Wilson not only via its astonishing yearly public exhibition of world-renowned photographers, but with its artist residency program. In October, New York City native Chris Facey brought his Leica to Wilson’s streets. He found Black Wide-Awake and reached out to me to get his bearings; I immediately connected him with Castonoble Hooks.
In the short time since, Facey has become an honorary member of the Hooks family. Though his residency lasted only a month, he returns regularly to Wilson and has made to Lane Street Project the profound gift of his documentary eye. Yesterday, Facey was at Odd Fellows Cemetery as the Senior Force — Castonoble Hooks, his brother William Hooks, and R. Briggs Sherwood — put in work.
Thank you, Chris Facey!
All photos courtesy of Christopher Facey, who reserves all rights to their use.