Houston is celebrating Black History Month in February with a variety of events, including a chance for community members to assist in cleaning up two historic cemeteries within the city.

What's happening

Abbie Kamin, Houston city council member for District C, shared details of the event during council comments after the council's Feb. 14 meeting.

The event, hosted by Volunteer Houston, is a part of the group's Restoring Heritage series, which is a community-driven initiative focused on cleaning and restoring a place that holds significant and historical value.

Both events will include picking up debris, raking leaves, trimming and disposing tree limbs, blowing leaves, edging graves and bushes, and lawn mowing.

Olivewood CemeteryCollege Memorial Park CemeteryWhy it matters

According to the official website, Olivewood Cemetery is Houston's first incorporated African American cemetery. It was incorporated in 1875, ten years after emancipation occurred in Texas.

A couple of prominent African American citizens buried in Olivewood include:
  • Elias Dibble, the first black ordained Methodist minister in the country and founder of Trinity Methodist Church
  • Wade Hampton Logan, an early paster of Trinity and a presiding elder for the Navasota and Marshall districts of the Methodist Church
  • James Ryan, a philanthropist, educator and community leader who served as the dean of education in the late 1800s
  • Charles Johnson, the author of Houston's bicentennial song, 'Houston is a Grand Old Town,' written in 1927
College Memorial Park Cemetery was founded in 1896. According to the cemetery website, it is one of Houston's oldest African-American graveyards along with Olivewood and Evergreen.

Prominent figures buried at the cemetery include:
  • John Henry, first pastor of Antioch Baptist Church and founder of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
  • I.M. Terrell, former principal of Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College, former president of Houston College and administrator of the Houston Negro Hospital
To check out more Black History Month events happening in the Houston area, visit Community Impact.