MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – Headstones etched with names and dates reaching back to 1830 peek from the soil at Ross Cemetery in McKinney.
For decades it was called the Ross Colored Cemetery, now it’s simply known as Ross Cemetery. And despite its former name, there are white people buried there, according to collincountyhistory.com. The site explains that white people buried there were deemed unfit for burial at nearby Pecan Grove Memorial Park or were perhaps newcomers to the area.
The large cemetery sits on several acres and once sat isolated and desolate.
Not so anymore… the city of McKinney and volunteers from the Collin County Sheriff’s Department now work to keep the historic black cemetery clear of debris and vandals.
Councilman Baine Brooks even wants to build a wrought iron fence around the property in the same manner of its neighbor, McKinney’s Pecan Grove cemetery.
“Highway 5 is being extended next to Ross. We need to protect and remember it,” he urged.
Brooks is one of many interested in protecting the headstones marking milestones in African American history.
“Some were born into slavery. There’s a Buffalo Soldier from the 9th Calvary,” said Brooks, as he walked among the rows of grave sites.
Brooks has started a GoFundMe page for Ross Cemetery, to amass donations for a stately fence. Late Thursday, he received word from a donor willing to give a section of a fence no longer used. Now he needs help installing it.
“This is American history here in McKinney. Let’s honor it.”