20 African American graves to be uncovered in historic Tyler Cemetery

Updated: Apr. 1, 2017 at 6:42 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
(Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The Spirits of Oakwood event gave hundreds of East Texans a chance to walk through history.

Cemetery leaders said they are still working to uncover the graves of hundreds of unsung Tyler heroes.Tyler's historic Oakwood Cemetery is the final resting place for notable politicians, businessmen, and war heroes.

"The cemetery has been here about as long as Tyler has. So many of the people buried here they are the movers and shakers in Tyler," said spirit, Mark Thacker.

Saturday, spirits of some of those notable public figures gave visitors a tangible taste of history during the Spirits of Oakwood. Members of the restoration committee said recently they've learned there about 170 unmarked graves buried beneath the surface.

"This is where the heroes of Tyler, the black heroes of Tyler are buried," said Jimmie Horton, Chairman, Oakwood Cemetery Restoration Committee.

They've uncovered one so far.

"She was born a slave, she had been freed, she and her husband had gotten married," Horton said.

The Texas Cemetery Group has given the restoration committee approval to uncover 20 more.

"There is just a little bit of information that we could probably get from the tombstones that will allow us to find out information on the background and family tree. Just finding that many potential graves is exciting," Horton said.

Leaders said it's an opportunity to include the lives of the unknown into Tyler's rich history.

With the money raised from tours, the committee is also working to build a kiosk to give cemetery visitors historical information year round.

Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved.