Freedman's Cemetery, as the name suggests, belonged to a community of former slaves established in this area after the Civil War. Dedicated in 1869, the cemetery closed in the 1920s and suffered from both neglect and vandalism. In the 1930s-40s, the construction of an expressway and a major intersection eliminated most of the remaining above-ground reminders of the cemetery. In the late 1980s, efforts to expand the city's Central Expressway led members of the local community, including descendants of those buried in the cemetery, to wage a successful campaign to halt freeway construction long enough for an archeological survey and excavations of the cemetery and the relocation of those interred within it. Between 1991-94, an archeological investigation uncovered more than 1,000 graves, which were carefully relocated, and the local community constructed this memorial. Sculptures by David Newton tell the story of African Americans and their descendants' journey from slavery to emancipation. Poems around the perimeter also commemorate those originally buried here.
Watch the following video to learn more about Freedmen's Communities in Texas. This video was produced for inclusion in the African Americans in Texas mobile tour found in our Texas Time Travel Tours mobile app. For more information about the mobile tour and African American cultural heritage in Texas, visit the African American Heritage theme page at the following link: http://texastimetravel.com/travel-themes/main-african-american-heritage