McKinney Cemetery Gets Historic Designation

Ross Cemetery in southeast McKinney has been recognized by the Texas Historical Commission as a Historic Texas Cemetery

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Ross Cemetery is tucked in a corner of southeast McKinney. "This is a historical cemetery for the Black community in McKinney, Texas," Ross Cemetery Chairwoman Florine Henry said.

Some of McKinney's noted educators, veterans, and city leaders are buried there. Now, the Texas Historical Commission has designated it a Historic Texas Cemetery.

"The Historic Commission designation essentially established that this is a place of value," Collin County Historic Commission Board Member Colin Kimball said. "There's history here. There are people that made history that are here."

When it opened in 1895, it was called the 'Colored People Cemetery'. The name changed to Ross, after one of the noted people buried there.

For years the cemetery had been vandalized and forgotten.

"It does my heart sad to know that their own people don't care about them," Henry said. For two decades she had tended the cemetery with love. "Because I know they're here and nobody cares that they're here. Somebody needs to care."

Henry's family is buried in Ross Cemetery, including her daughter, who died when she was eight-days old.

"My little girl was right here," Henry said pointing at a blank swath of land. "Someone took her headstone."

Henry and Kimball hope the Texas Historical Commission designation will bring attention to the cemetery, and help with the upkeep.

"There's quite a bit of history here, and thousands of stories that have yet to be told," Kimball said. "We need to share their stories."

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