Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Their goal is to prevent the highway from drowning out those silent voices from the past."

Group fights to stop massive highway from destroying historic cemeteries

January 29, 2008

By Rucks Russell
KHOU-TV Channel 11 News (Houston)
Copyright 2008

“There were quite a few plantations in this area, almost all of Spanish camp were descendants,” said Jan Hobizal.

The cemeteries containing the remains of the slaves who lived and died here, and the huts that once gave them shelter, have weathered the years in Glen Flora near Wharton.

But they may not weather the Trans Texas Corridor planned for the area says Jan Hobizal. “Here’s Glen Flora right here, and it would come right through here.”

It’s the fear, festering in the hearts of local historians and slave descendants alike, that that proposed road could bury this town of 150, along with its history, for good.

And so residents are racing against the clock.

They’re uncovering old tombstones dating from 1834, and pealing back the pages of a story they refuse to let die.

It is a story etched in the soil of the large farms.

“It’s important our kids know where they come from no matter how harsh the reality is,” said Hobizal.

It is a story embedded in the walls of the old Masonic Lodge, a place of refuge for newly emancipated blacks.

“You pass by a field, and you can almost imagine my grand grandfather, chopping that cotton,” said Garlan Berry. “I can almost see them looking down, or feel their hands on me.”

Berry and Hobizal says they will do all they can to save the historic community.

Their goal is to prevent the highway from drowning out those silent voices from the past.

© 2008 KHOU-TV: www.khou.com

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