Hundreds of unmarked graves discovered at Dickinson's lone African American cemetery

March 18, 2013 4:41:58 PM PDT
We first told you this weekend about a community-wide effort to clean up the only African American cemetery in Dickinson. Since their effort began, volunteers are uncovering hundreds of unmarked graves. Behind the Greater New Hope Missionary Baptist Church quietly sits a piece of Dickinson and League City history.

Magnolia Cemetery dates back to the 1800s.

"There are slaves buried here. There are people from World War I, World War II, school teachers, people who worked in the community," said Pastor William H. King III.

King organizes regular volunteer cleanup days at the cemetery, but he's now leading an effort -- aided by the Galveston County Historical Commission -- to identify unmarked gravesites.

"At least 400, at least," Floyd L. Martin with the Galveston County Historical Commission said. "On Find A Grave, I think we have about 559 listed right now. When we started here, there were approximately about 125 markers in the cemetery."

Magnolia Cemetery pre-dates the Emancipation Proclamation, and King is working to secure a state historical designation for the cemetery.

"For one thing, it protects it; and the information that goes into the state will have a lot of information about who was buried here and all the military people that are buried here," Melodey Hauch with the Galveston County Historical Commission said.

A veteran himself, King says the contributions to the area by the people buried here should be honored.

"We want to make sure," he said. "They maybe be gone, but they will never be forgotten."

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