Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc.

Willie Lee Gay - H-Town Chapter


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Chapter Projects:


Olivewood Cemetery Project

The Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society - Willie Lee Gay – H-Town Chapter has adopted Olivewood Cemetery as its primary Texas Cemetery Project (TCP). In the not so distant past, the Descendents of Olivewood filed an application for Historic Texas Cemetery Designation. The cemetery, located in the old Chaneyville area is the oldest black cemetery in Houston. Established around 1870 by black Methodists, it was also known by the names of Hollow Wood and Hollywood. Many 19th century influential African Americans were buried in the cemetery such as Reverend Elias Dibble, first minister of Trinity United Methodist Church; Reverend Wade H. Logan, also a minister of the church; James Kyle, a blacksmith; and Richard Brock, a city alderman just to name a few.

The Chapter is collaborating with the Descendents of Olivewood to help with bi-monthly cleanups that are scheduled for the second and fourth Saturday. Because the majority of the cemetery is covered with heavy underbrush, more volunteers are needed to help with the cleanups. Volunteers should bring hoes, rakes, pruning shears, handsaws, shovels, garden trowels, wheelbarrows, sunscreen and insect repellant. They should also wear long sleeves and pants, closed-toed shoes, gloves and hats. Volunteers may also want to bring a sack lunch and bottled water. There are no restrooms on the site.

Companies and organizations can offer their services by offering volunteers and/or donating equipment such previously listed. If you are interested in helping with this project and for directions to the cemetery, please e-mail TCP Chair Debra B. Sloan.

To facilitate the project, we are grateful to Trevia Wooster Beverly for allowing the Chapter to post an abstract of African American Cemeteries from her book, At Rest: A Historical Directory of Harris County, Texas, Cemeteries (1822-2001) Including Burial Customs and Other Interesting Facts, With a Listing of Past and Present Communities, Funeral Home and Monument Companies.

The AAHGS-Willie Lee Gay-H-Town Chapter firmly upholds the integrity of intellectual property. As such, we request that appropriate credit is given to the author with reference to this work. Click here to view the abstract (MS Word or Adobe pdf).


Visual History Project

Initially, the Visual History Project (VHP) began with the partnership between the H-Town and Family Time Capsules in January 2005.  However, circumstances beyond each parties control resulted in an unfinished business.  At our April 2006 chapter meeting, the membership resolved that it was in its best interest to proceed forward with this very important endeavor.  Hence, H-Town accepted the challenge of taking on the task to preserve the images, stories, and histories of chapter members utilizing multi-media technology.  This project will combine members’ family or living histories with photographs and documents into a single streamlined, coherent medium that is easily available to people nationwide and globally.  DVDs will be produced primarily from information gathered in interviews, which will be completed with audio, music, and supporting images.

To insure the success of this project, membership participation is paramount.  The Visual History Project Committee (VHPC) will exercise oversight of the project, coordinating on-camera interviews. Each participant will be given a maximum of 120 minutes for his/her interview.  Interviewees may schedule more than one interview session if necessary.  For more information, contact the VHPC Co-Chairs Mrs. Elise Harmon or Mr. Karim T. Aldridge-Rand.


Veteran's History Project

AAHGS – Willie Lee Gay – H-Town Chapter has chosen to participate in the Veterans’ History Project (VHP).  The United States Congress authorized the Veterans’ History Project in October 2000.  The legislation calls upon the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to collect and preserve audio and video taped oral histories, along with documentary materials such as letters, diaries, maps, photographs, and home movies, of America’s war veterans and those who served in support of them.  The VHP is especially interested in veterans who served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf Wars.  The project also wants interviews of those veterans who served between the various wars as well.  For more information, contact the VHP Chair Ms. Marilyn Lawson



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