On Juneteenth 2022, Take Action for Historic African American Cemeteries

June 13, 2022 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

Olivewood Cemetery, Houston, Texas

photo by: Descendants of Olivewood

Now a federal holiday, Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when Union Army General Granger issued General Order No. 3 ordering the freedom of over 250,000 enslaved people in Texas.

This Juneteenth, the National Trust for Historic Preservation would like to encourage you to take action for African American cemeteries like Olivewood Cemetery. One of the oldest Black burial grounds in Houston, Texas, Olivewood Cemetery is a 2021 African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Grantee, and was named this year to the National Trust’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. It was incorporated in 1875, just a decade after General Order No. 3 was issued on June 19, 1865.

The cemetery includes burials of around 500 people who were alive on that day, the very first Juneteenth. This is the generation of Black leaders who lived through emancipation and Reconstruction and helped to build Houston’s free Black community including schools, parks, and cemeteries like Descendants of Olivewood.

“Black cemeteries are sacred spaces of cultural memory where a nation can honor and remember lives once lived.” Read more via Veranda Magazine.

Show your support for the African American Burial Grounds Preservation Act

Additional Events and Readings this Juneteenth

Save the date and join Thomas Jefferson's Monticello for a special Juneteenth event: “Ascendant: The Power of Descendant Communities to Shape Our Stories, Places, and Future.” This event features over 20 esteemed speakers including African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund National Advisory Council members Darren Walker and Ava DuVernay, and Action Fund executive director and senior vice president of the National Trust Brent Leggs.

Registration is free but required and the event will be live-streamed via Monticello's social media channels.

Read: Absolute Equality: A New Mural Reimagines Public Spaces and the Story of Juneteenth

Read: How the Word Is Passed: A Conversation with Clint Smith

Join us in protecting and restoring places where significant African American history happened.

Learn More