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  • Mark Coyne

Last Week in the Cemetery (Week of September 12)

Posted September 18, 2022 by M.S. Coyne

Last week in the African Cemetery No. 2 was COOL, DRY, AND PLEASANT.

A large spider web is at the center of the photo, with a green grassy field in the background.

While the mower was in the shop getting a new tensioner pulley, drive belt, and new wheel, the markers got a trim over a period of two days. In addition to our resident Red Tailed Hawk, spiders were busy spinning some elaborate webs without any visible means of support.

Thanks to Hoe ‘N Hope Garden Club, RCO Benjamin’s marker got a makeover to replace the Daylilies with Daisies more appropriate to his epitaph:

“Small service is true service

while it lasts

Of friends however humble,

scorn not one

The daisy by the lingering shadow it casts

Protects the lingering dew drop

from the sun”

A headstone with a cylinder shape at the top and a shield or crest, heart shaped base stands upright in the ground surrounded by some dirt, two orange flags on either side. The headstone is set in a field of grass.

The poem is from Wadsworth. Benjamin was a civil rights activist (among many other things) at the beginning of the 20th century who was murdered while registering African Americans to vote. His marker was put up by a fraternal organization to which he belonged, The Knights of Pythias, 10 years after his death.

One marker in Section F had, with time, been enveloped by the trunk of a Black Locust. Last week it was finally liberated from its wooden cradle. Sadly, tree growth and time both damaged the marker such that very little of the inscription is visible. Hopefully time and future excavations will reveal some additional fragments.

A small Umbrella Magnolia tree is freshly planted in the ground and surrounded by a bed of brown mulch.
Umbrella Magnolia

Thanks to Tyson Gray of the Fayette Co. Cooperative Extension Service, we have two new native trees planted in Section D towards the back of the cemetery. One is an Umbrella Magnolia (Magnolia


A small Pagoda Dogwood tree is freshly planted and surrounded by chicken wire in the ground. It is surrounded by a small circle of brown mulch.
Pagoda Dogwood

The other tree is a Pagoda Dogwood (AKA Alternate Leaf Dogwood)(Cornus alternifolia)

The chicken wire surrounding each tree is an effort to keep critters from chewing on them until they are well established and beyond.

All things continue to look good for two big events we will be holding in African Cemetery No. 2 in October.

1. A performance of Julia Perry and Florence Price’s compositions by the Lexington Philharmonic on October 1 (4-5 pm) ( Lexington Philharmonic Website (

2. Tree Week Events ( from October 8-16. We’ll have walking tours available on October 9 th and 13 th from 5-7 and a special tree print making program on October 15 from 2-4. Bring the kids!

Remember that if you or your group would like to contribute a few hours of service maintaining African Cemetery No. 2, please contact Mark Coyne at to plan a visit.

As always, feel free to visit African Cemetery No. 2 any time.

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