Descendants of Olivewood Celebrating Family, Community and History

ToBob Slovak

Friday, June 23, 2023 at 10:00 p.m.

Descendants of Olivewood

Houston, TX – Against the backdrop of White Oak Bayou near Interstate 10 is Olivewood Cemetery, Houston’s oldest African-American cemetery.

An olive wood tombstone, established in 1875, suggests it is much older. “He’s six feet away from history when he’s in Olivewood,” said Olivewood Descendants member Jasmine Lee. “Many of the Olivewood people experienced slavery. They broke free and built the communities, families and institutions that we still see today.”

In Olivewood are buried the people who built Houston and have a school named after them.

Olivewood Descendant researcher Paul Jennings said, “Without the contributions of these people, we would not be able to recognize Houston as it is today. Many would not have made it into the history books, but Olivewood is their history book.”

In 1999 Margot Williams’ grandmother died and she wanted to be buried next to her grandfather Kane Howard Nelson Sr. When she arrived in Olivewood, she could not find her grandfather’s graveyard.

After many years of neglect, the Olive Wood was buried under a canopy of giant plants.

Williams couldn’t find the owner of the cemetery, so he decided to do the work himself.

“I always thought people buried here deserved more respect than they were getting,” Williams said.

In 2004, Williams and others formed the Descendants of Olivewood to manage the cemetery.

Every other Saturday, Descendants and other volunteers can be seen mowing grass, clearing shrubs, and preserving historic sites. The ongoing restoration work is a labor of love. Williams said she loves families coming to Olivewood looking for members of the family and said, “To be able to connect with them and see their faces is priceless, priceless.” Told.

Click here for more information on restoration and volunteer work at Olivewood. here. Descendants of Olivewood Celebrating Family, Community and History

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