Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Mitchell: Black History Month important part of preserving all history

Recently, we were grateful for the opportunity to recognize Girl Scout Victoria Myers and Boy Scout Nathan Danforth during Denton County Commissioners Court for their contributions to recent restoration efforts at the historic Black Champion-Macedonia Cemetery in Lewisville.

Victoria is a senior at Townview School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas and is a Girl Scout on her way to the coveted Gold Award. She lives in Denton County, heard about the Champion-Macedonia Cemetery, and stepped up to take ownership of its care. She has not only raised funds but also led the installation of a black wrought iron fence with a gated entryway and created “Project 80 Roots” to continue beautifying the cemetery.

Nathan’s Eagle Scout project also centered around the cemetery, which is the final resting place of multiple African American Veterans. Their graves were unmarked, and Nathan has worked to pay tribute to those heroes. He placed a 24-foot flagpole with an American flag inside the cemetery. He also researched each veteran’s history of military service. Beside their headstones, he placed an American flag and medallion showing their branch of service along with a QR code that links to a website detailing their history.

We also recognized Jacqueline Shaw, who is the Champion-Macedonia Cemetery Committee Chair – a position she has taken to heart as she worked with both Nathan and Victoria on their projects as well as organized clean-ups in January 2022 and in January 2023, bringing many organizations and volunteers together to clean up this historic cemetery and make it a place of reverence for families who visit their loved ones.

She and I both worked together with the Texas Historical Commission to obtain an Official Texas Historical Marker for the cemetery. I am so very grateful for her dedicated work to preserving the history of our Black Lewisville area families. I also would like to thank Cassie Whitley and the families with family members buried in this cemetery who allowed us to work in the cemetery to help preserve their history.

I have attended many services there since coming to Lewisville in 1971. To see it today with the wonderful, gated entry; the white crosses signifying the location of each grave; the new signs marking each of the two cemeteries; and the recognition of the veterans who served our country moves me beyond words.

Preserving history is important for everyone, including our Black families. This month, as we honor our Black history, it is important that you know not only about what we have done in Lewisville but also what we continue to do across Denton County.

At the Denton County Historical Park at 317 W. Mulberry St. in Denton, the Denton County African American Museum includes many wonderful photos and stories of Black families who lived here at a time when our county was just starting to take shape.

The award-winning museum chronicles the lives of African American families and the end of Quakertown in the 1920’s when the city relocated the town of more than 50 African American families and locally-owned businesses to make room for a new park. The museum also features exhibits of papers and medical supplies from Dr. Edwin D. Moten, Denton’s first African American physician.

If you want to learn more about Quakertown, consider joining the Quakertown Park Walking Tour at 1 p.m. on Feb. 16 beginning with docent-led tours at the Historical Park on Mulberry Street, followed by a walking tour of Quakertown Park with Denton County Office of History & Culture Curator Kim Cupit beginning at 2:30 p.m. at 321 E. McKinney St. in Denton.

Plans are underway for a second home from Quakertown, the Woods House, which we hope to open soon. We also continue to work with others across the county in the preservation of Black history.

Let me close with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, in 1964: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

Connect With Us: Be sure and connect with Denton County on Facebook at facebook.com/DentonCountyTX and on Twitter @DentonCountyTX. You can also follow me at facebook.com/DentonCountyCommissionerBobbieMitchell. If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is [email protected] and my office number is 972-434-4780.

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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