This area of Dallas County was settled by former African American slaves shortly after the conclusion of the American Civil War. Freedman's Cemetery, a graveyard for African Americans, was established in 1869 on one acre of land purchased by trustee Sam Eakins. Another 3 acres was acquired for cemetery purposes in 1879 by trustees. A. Wilhite, Frank Read, A. Boyd, T. Watson, George English, Silas Pitman, and the Rev. A. R. Griggs, a former slave who later became a prominent local church leader and champion of early public education for the African American community. The community of churches, commercial enterprises, and residences that had developed in this area by the turn of the 20th century was by 1912 a part of the City of Dallas. Construction of the Central Expressway through here in the 1930s virtually eliminated all physical above-ground reminders of the cemetery. Descendants of persons buried here and the City of Dallas agreed in 1965 to establish the Freedman's Memorial Park and Cemetery at this site. Beginning in 1989 representatives of the community worked with the City of Dallas and the Texas Department of Transportation to preserve the historic Freedman's Cemetery site prior to highway expansion.
This memorial honors former slaves buried in the Freedman's Cemetery. The cemetery was developed in the 1850's near Freedman's town, the post-Civil War cultural, social and economic center of the African-American community. When Central Expressway was widened several years ago, a number of graves were moved; some still remain, however. An arched granite gate now stands at the site entrance. Niches on either side contain symbolic sculptures by David Newton.
The Memorial sits adjacent to Emmanu-el and Calvary cemeteries, and just a short walk from Greenwood Cemetery; the four cemeteries are part of a Cemetery Tour in Uptown Dallas.
Only two partial markers are found on the memorial grounds, although more may be buried in the cemetery. The African American Museum (of Dallas) is currently running an exhibit, Facing the Rising Sun, which tells its story, using objects, photographs and multimedia presentations. The exhibit opened in May 2010 and is ongoing.
GPS Coordinates: 32.80272, -96.79383
- Added: 6 May 2006
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #2175657
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