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Monument pays tribute to Black veterans buried in historic Waxahachie cemetery

More than 300 veterans are buried in marked and unmarked graves at the Prince Hall Fraternal Cemetery in Waxahachie.

WAXAHACHIE, Texas — Some residents in North Texas are bringing attention to the legacy of military service that can found around an historic cemetery in Waxahachie.

Behind the gates of Prince Hall Fraternal Cemetery, there is a history of service that is often forgotten.

“The history of this cemetery dates back to the early 1800s,” said Dr. Jamal Rasheed, President and CEO of the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame Museum and Library. 

The headstones tell the story, and Rasheed is determined to share it.

Hundreds of headstones in this historic African American cemetery identify those who served in World War I, Korean War, World War II, and different branches of the military.

“As we were maintaining the cemetery, I noticed all of the veteran headstones out here that were sunken, that were crooked. And I felt that was totally a disrespect to men and women who served," said Rasheed.

In addition to freed slaves, Rasheed said there are more than 300 Black veterans buried in marked and unmarked graves.

“There’s a mixture of veterans out here from various wars,” said Rasheed.

A monument to those military service members was installed in the center of the cemetery in 2019, with the help of volunteers, donors, businesses and others. The memorial is complete with a series of flags flying high, plaques for each military service agency, and a statue dedicated to fallen soldiers.

“It was a community effort to make this happen,” added Rasheed.

Upkeep of the cemetery takes a lot of work. Rasheed said volunteers and donations could help with preservation efforts.

“There won’t be any 21 gun salutes out here. There won’t be any military parades or recognition out here. They’re forgotten about,” explained Rasheed.

This Veterans Day, Rasheed is hoping more community members will take time to visit the monument and reflect on the history and service of those who are laid to rest in this space. 

To learn more about the Prince Hall Fraternal Cemetery and the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame Museum and Library, visit https://ecaamuseum.org/.

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