Before my first cup of coffee this morning I decided to get a glimpse of local and national news. In less than a minute I swallowed the room’s air in a quick, powerful gasp because of the first headline I read.
HISTORIC SLAVE CEMETERY BULLDOZED IN HOUSTON
I needed no more news, only to find the answers my mind pulled for:
How could this happen? Is the cemetery visible? Who are the owners? Why did this happen? Who is going to right this wrong?
Right the wrong.
Why would I care about someone righting a wrong at a cemetery?
A few years ago, my family buried my grandmother and in less than a year I buried my husband. My grandmother and late husband stood as a steel force in the inner circle of my life, offering wisdom, protection, support… and joy. I miss them dearly. Laying them to rest was one of the most trying times of my life.
There was an incident with my grandmother’s burial. I was horrified, fought for composure, and arranged my thoughts and words so that I might clearly articulate what my family needed from the cemetery to make it right. They did, and in laying my family members to rest I gained new insight and respect into laying a loved one to rest. Some of the most caring and kind people I’ve ever met work at the funeral homes and cemeteries that supported and served us. They are needed, as this is not the time for nonsense or poor customer service.
Before my grandmother’s and late husband’s death, there weren’t a lot of funerals in my family. My dear daddy departed decades ago, and a few aunts, uncles, cousins, and family members of heart passed on, but it hasn’t seemed like there have been many funerals in my family. Even though my tears have salted cemetery grounds I’ve never had a negative connotation about a cemetery. On the contrary, outside the throes of grief I find it a peaceful place to stroll, picking up wind blown urns and artificial flowers gone astray, thanking God for the lives and contributions of those who have come and gone, and remembering that my own life is too short for foolishness.
A cemetery marks the fate of us all. The bodies resting there made contributions to this world–some quietly, others with a visible mark. Many consider a cemetery a sacred place. From the beginning of Scripture to its end are references to burying your dead, and around the burial act there are many cultural customs.
A careless, accidental, or intentional act of destroying a cemetery or clearing its grounds should be addressed. By whom?
According to News92 FM Houston, ‘the Bradshaw Cemetery is clearly marked on Rand McNally maps.’
According to the Law Library of Congress, the Bradshaw Cemetery is most likely protected under United States Antiquities Act of 1906 and possibly under The Historical Sites Act of 1935, The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979,Texas State law, or by several of these bodies of law.
Someone needs to remind Jeremy Nellom, and the Nellom family about the laws that protect the cemetery. According to news reports, they are the owners of the cemetery. Jeremy’s grandma is buried there.
Furthermore, the Bradshaw Cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and it can be clearly found on the Texas Historical Commission map so the mishap–due to careless confirmation of details that led to a mistake, or intentional malice of a ruthless heart–is well covered by law, a burial place in the eyes of God, and deserves to be righted its wrong.
If headstones were removed, they should be replaced. The grounds should be smoothed and restored. And, a marker, approved by the family or the State should be erected notifying others that…
“Bradshaw Cemetery is the final resting place of many who fought bravely for this country, the United States of America, and although they were denied burial once, their resting place will forevermore be preserved by the laws of the United States of America, the State of Texas, and the hearts of their ancestors and those grateful for their lives and service . ”
The words can differ, but the task at hand remains–right the wrong at Bradshaw Cemetery.
A call to protect and preserve burial grounds disturbed–an act of humble service~ Nisti K