Inside This Issue
Juneteenth Ceremony to be Rescheduled
The annual Juneteenth ceremony at African Cemetery No. 2 was canceled this year due to untimely rain. We hope to reschedule the event and participants at a later date. Stay tuned for future public announcements.
New Book by Yvonne Giles
Stilled Voices Yet Speak, Vol. 1 by Yvonne Giles, a cemetery board member, is available for purchase. The book is intended “for those who seek information about deceased relatives in African American cemeteries in Fayette County.” Vol. 1 documents the names and grave inscriptions of individuals buried in African Cemetery No. 2 and the former Ladies Auxiliary Society Cemetery. The book can be purchased for $25. Contact Yvonne Giles at the Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum (http://www.hathawaymuseum.org/index.html) Lexington KY to purchase a copy.
Henry Clay High School History Club
Since 2009 the Henry Clay History Club under the direction of Christopher Snow has been working in the cemetery counting and cleaning gravestones. They plan to return in Fall 2010 to begin making rubbings of graves to help with historic documentation.
African Cemetery No. 2 (419 E. 7th St., Lexington, KY) is approximately 8 acres in size and contains over 8000 graves. The land was purchased by members of the Colored Peoples Union Benevolent Society No. 2 in 1869 and 1875 for use as a burial ground. The last burial was in 1974.
African Cemetery No. 2 was the first significant African American cemetery in Lexington to be designed, built, and maintained by a chartered black organization. It played a significant role in perpetuating the contemporary and traditional values that helped define the cultural, religious, and social dimensions of African American life in post Civil War Lexington.
The Union Benevolent Society cared for the cemetery until the 1940’s after which a period of decline occurred. Restorations occurred in the 1960s and 1970s without lasting effect. In the 1970s the cemetery was declared abandoned and deeded to African Cemetery No. 2, Inc., a community-based nonprofit 501C corporation, which was given responsibility for its upkeep. At present at least 1,132 grave markers and most are still legible.
The current Board is actively involved in maintaining the cemetery and developing plans to turn it into a memorial garden and education center for Lexington’s east side. On June 19, 2003 a Kentucky Historical Highway marker was dedicated and on March 31, 2004 the cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
New Cemetery Documentary Airing on Cable Channel 20 and 97
“8 Acres of History” written and Produced by Thom Southerland of the Lexington Public Library premiered on June 18 and has been airing on the Library Cable Channel nightly at 8:00 pm since July 1. The hour-long program documents the origin, significance, and restoration of African Cemetery No. 2 from 1869 to the present.
New Grant From The UK Kentucky Collaboratives Program
In April 2010 cemetery board members Anne Butler, Mark Coyne, and Allan Hetzel received a $10,000 grant from the UK Kentucky Collaboratives program to initiate the “Young Equestrian Scholars Program.” This will be an opportunity for students in K-12 to work with college students from Kentucky State University and UK to investigate the significance of African Americans in Kentucky’s Equine Industry. Participants will develop brochures and biographies and learn through meetings with experts how to document the historical significance of individuals in African Cemetery No. 2 with an equine connection. To learn more about participating in the program contact Mark Coyne at P.O. Box 54874 Lexington KY 40555-4874 or firstname.lastname@example.org.