Meredith Yeomans

Men Trying to Restore Historic African-American Cemetery in McKinney

An Allen man is on a mission to restore an historic African-American cemetery in McKinney.

Ross Cemetery is located near Highway 5 and El Dorado Parkway and is near the well-known Pecan Grove Cemetery.

Brooks, who is also an Allen City Council member, believes many don't know Ross Cemetery exists.

"People don't know it's here," he said.

It's the ones who do that concern him.

Ross Cemetery is rich with history. Every headstone has a story.

Slaves are buried there, along with mothers, fathers, families and at least three dozen African-American veterans, including a Buffalo Soldier.

"There are a lot of people out here that have paved the way for me to be doing what I'm doing today. I mean, these are veterans, these are veterans. Our veterans should be honored all the time," Brooks said.

More than 1,000 people are buried at Ross Cemetery, bound by a final resting place that has seen better days.

Several headstones, he says, have been kicked over. Many graves are marked by rocks and shrubs, and at least one grave marker is being held together by duct tape.

Brooks is now on a mission to spruce things up with the help of 84-year-old Allen historian Ken Byler.

"I don't care what nationality you are, whether it's black white, yellow, whatever it is. American blood is all red," Byler said.

Feeling the cemetery has been neglected for far too long, they plan to apply for grants and raise money for a fence and regular maintenance.

They also hope the community will stop up to help restore history.

Anyone who wishes to help can email

Ross Cemetery is privately owned. There is no fund to maintain it. Its only source of revenue is the sale of new grave sites.

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