Monday, May 23, 2022

Cleanup of historic Black cemetery in Lewisville scheduled

LEWISVILLE, TEXAS — A cleanup and restoration of the historic Black Fox-Hembry cemetery in Lewisville is scheduled for Saturday, March 19, 2022, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Several organizations are calling for volunteers to help clean up the grounds with garden tools.

The Fox-Hembry Cemetery was created in 1831 when grieving relatives buried a slave child named Malinda in it. In 1895, the slave-owning Fox family bought a one-acre plot and designated it as a “burying place for the colored people.” Ninety-two percent of the Fox-Hembry Cemetery’s gravesites have been photographed and posted on findagrave.com. The first restoration of the Fox-Hembry Cemetery occurred in 2011.

One of the slaves the Foxes owned was named Cassandra. Cassandra’s home was the Caribbean where she was the mother of six children. After being forcibly transported to Texas, Cassandra assumed the Fox name and bore five more children: Ida Mae, Julia, Adeline, Mary Jane and Scott. Ida Mae Fox (1854-1910) married Anthony Hembry (1856-1916), and she and five other slaves founded the Lewisville Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in Lewisville. Later, the church was renamed Lane Chapel C.M.E. to honor Bishop Isaac Lane, a founder of the C.M.E. church organization. In 2001, a historical marker was placed at the church.

“Black cemeteries are important to the history of our people,” said Jackie Shaw, social justice minister of Lewisville’s Westside Baptist Church. “We need to recognize our history and honor the individuals who came before us. These graves include those of founding citizens, loved family members, community leaders and veterans.

 

(Jackie Shaw / Courtesy)

According to Shaw, the items volunteers should bring will be gas and electric lawn tools, rakes, chainsaws, 50- to 100-foot extension cords and weed eaters. Two generators will be provided for the electric tools. It would be appreciated if someone would bring a riding lawnmower. A tent and porta potties will be on site.

Water and snacks will be available for volunteers.

Sponsors of the Fox-Hembry Cemetery cleanup and restoration event include Westside Baptist Church; Michelangelo Plumbing; the City of Lewisville; Denton County Precinct 3 Commissioner Bobby Mitchell; Huffines Auto Dealerships; Davoodi Family Medicine; Jeri Harwell of Republic Services; the Lewisville Firefighters Association; Ray Bowen, Kwik Kar owner; Kenny Arthur, owner of Chik-Fil-A on Justin Road; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Lewisville; Keep Lewisville Beautiful; Sam Pack’s Five Star Ford of Lewisville; Bridge Property Management; Guardian Construction; Community Trash Services; C&C Landscaping; and Denton-Lewisville Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

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The mission of Westside Baptist Church is to serve God by sharing Christ and loving people.
To reach the Fox-Hembry Cemetery, from I35-E take the Valley Ridge exit (#453). Go east on Valley Ridge to Mill Street. Turn left/north on Mill Street. Just before you get to the railroad tracks/trestle/bridge, turn left onto the gravel road named Whitmore Lane. Whitmore Lane is on the south side of the railroad tracks and runs parallel to them. Proceed westward on Whitmore Lane — it will dead end at the cemetery.

If it rains March 19, the cleanup will occur on March 26, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more information, email socialjusticeteam@wbcchurch.org or call 972-221-5668.

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