College Memorial Park Cemetery Founded in 1896, College Memorial Park Cemetery is one of Houston's three oldest African-American graveyards, along with Olivewood and Evergreen. The earliest legible grave marker dates to 1900, but with many unmarked graves and unreadable stones, it is likely that earlier burials exist. College Memorial Park Cemetery takes its name from its location opposite the Houston College. Its proximity to the Fourth Ward neighborhood, which saw an influx of African-American migration and the establishment of a freedmen's town after the Civil War, made this the primary burial ground for many religious, civic, education and business leaders of that community. Among those buried here are: John Henry (Jack) Yates, a vital community leader, first pastor of Antioch Baptist Church and founder of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, who encouraged property ownership among black Houstonians; Fort Worth and Houston educator J. M. Terrell, who became principal of Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College, president of Houston College and administrator of the Houston Negro Hospital; veterans of both world wars; and participants in the racial conflict now known as the Houston riot of 1917. Jack Yates (d. 1897) originally was buried in Olivewood cemetery, but was reinterred here after College Memorial Park Cemetery became operable. Over the years, the burial ground has suffered from neglect and vandalism. Late 20th-century revitalization efforts sought to offset the earlier damage and to bring awareness to the cemetery as an important part of Houston's culture and heritage.
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