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Born in the U.S.A., Humble Negro Cemetery, Humble, Texas 0508101245BW | by Patrick Feller
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Born in the U.S.A., Humble Negro Cemetery, Humble, Texas 0508101245BW

Cassette tape on old mattress in concrete ruins on north side of the cemetery.


Humble Negro Cemetery, otherwise known as the Pipe Yard Cemetery, is north of the FM 1960 bypass, just east of the railroad tracks, behind the Home Depot and an Humble ISD administration building.


Jim Crow Laws, segregation, were brutally enforced at the time that burials were being made there. Not only could African-Americans not be buried in the Humble Cemetery, but after 1933, when Humble was incorporated, new laws were passed, forcing African-Americans to move, some to nearby Bordersville, just outside the city limits. There are reports that the graves of the few African-Americans who had been buried in the Humble Cemetery were moved, some to the Humble Negro Cemetery.


Grace Church now attempts to maintain the cemetery.


On the day that I was there, an empty flagpole stood.


The concrete ruins of an old kerosene refinery are on the north boundary of the cemetery, and dense woods are on all sides.


Time, and the elements, take a toll on cemeteries, especially those essentially abandoned for many years.


We know where our parents are buried, may visit their graves, but how many of us regularly visit our grandparents' graves? Commercial, perpetual care, cemeteries, and those associated with churches and municipalities have systems in place for maintenance, but there are many cemeteries, such as those that were no longer in use after desegregation, that are nearly forgotten, descendants moving away, passing away...


At Evergreen and Olivewood, both essentially abandoned, but for the efforts of volunteers, there are occasional signs of vandalism. I've never seen vandalism, desecration, though, on the scale that I found at Humble Negro Cemetery. Over the years, most of the stones have been broken, many to fragments. Many graves are unmarked, but for sunken places on the ground. Graves of veterans have been used for target practice. Some of the graves had concrete slabs over them. In every case, the slab has been shattered, and the earth beneath disturbed, though now, somewhat, replaced. Graves have clearly been violated.


The range of weathering of the damage indicates that it has taken place over decades.


It might not be hard to make an argument that the graves in such cemeteries should be the responsibilty of descendants, survivors, but I strongly feel that the graves of those who have helped to defend this country deserve better, from the nation, from the community ,than those veterans' graves at Elmview, Olivewood, and here.


A part of me feels that there is, perhaps, something to be said for letting such sites return completely to nature, but our history lies here, with those who helped build this country, this community.


Borderville Learning Service Project directly available at YouTube -


"Claiming King" Genealogy blog is located here -



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Taken on May 9, 2010