/  09.22.2020

A historically Black cemetery in Austin, Texas was vandalized over the weekend.

On Monday (Sept. 21), the city’s Parks and Recreation Department said they noticed 15 gravestones at the Evergreen Cemetery were sprayed with blue paint, noting the stones seemed to be randomly selected.

Though some of the writing was hard to make out, a few of the legible messages included the words “Kirk” and “AIDS” as well as an infinity sign.

Natalie Marshall, whose relative’s gravestone was destroyed, said she does not believe the vandalism was a “random act,” but one done with “purpose.”

Austin resident Victor Reed also shared his thoughts on the historic landscape’s destruction, calling it an attack on Black people in the city.

“At the end of the day, the Black community is all damaged. We’re all damaged because of this,” he told an ABC affiliate. “We got them disgracing our dead. That’s just a sad sight, what’s going on in this city. This is another assault on the Black person in this city, and no one seems like they want to address these issues, and I’m wondering why.” 

“We’re sick of kind of waking up to, you know, different offenses that take place to us. I’m asking for community members to start coming out, to start speaking up…,” Reed went on. “Actions have only brought our ancestors in this community closer. We love and value our ancestors, and I have full confidence that the thug/thugs who did this will be dealt with accordingly.”

The Evergreen Cemetery was established in 1962 and became Austin’s first gravesite for African Americans. It rests prominent Black community member Dr. L. June H. Brewer, one of the first African American students admitted to the University of Texas. Oscar Leonard Thompson, the first Black graduate of the university, is also buried at the graveyard.

Look below for photos of Evergreen Cemetery.


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