MINEOLA, Texas (KLTV) - Progress continues in the effort to bury the past at a Mineola cemetery. What was once two separate burial grounds is now officially one cemetery under one board.
“Now we are united as one,” said Demethrius Boyd, pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Mineola. “Now, the only fence that will be here will be the one around the whole solid property.”
In July, the City of Mineola, and officials with Cedars Memorial Gardens and Mineola Cemetery came together to remove a fence that separated the side of the cemetery where black people were mostly buried.
Earlier this week, the boards of each cemetery held a joint session where members voted unanimously to unite under one name: Mineola Memorial Cemetery.
“This is actually a very historic moment, not only for Mineola, but also for the residents of Wood County because it does develop the mindset towards a partnership in the development of relationships between different cultures, different races, different aspects of life," Boyd said.
The merger includes the addition of two seats to the board of the existing 501c13, which will be filled by Boyd and Billy McCalla.
The merger also means it will be easier to maintain the cemetery and complete beautification projects already being planned, Boyd said.
Mineola Memorial Cemetery Board President David Collett said those projects include improvements to the entrance, changing signage to reflect the new name and fixing the perimeter fence.
“There’s some gaps in the fence. We started working on it a few years ago. Of course, we’re right on the edge of town, and when it rains the hogs come in. We really got to keep the hogs out. They can tear up a spot overnight, and we’re having another issue with them now,” Collett said. “It (a fence) just protects the place from a little bit of everything.”
The Board is hoping for volunteers and donations to help with improvements to the property. The One Cemetery Committee has created a GoFundMe campaign titled One Cemetery, One Fence to help raise money for the projects.