Watch CBS News

North Texas Girl Scout teams up with community leaders to breathe new life into historic Black cemetery

On Your Corner. In Your Corner: Girl Scout teams up with community leaders to breathe new life into
On Your Corner. In Your Corner: Girl Scout teams up with community leaders to breathe new life into 02:30

DENTON (CBSNewsTexas) - A North Texas Girl Scout is teaming up with community leaders to restore a historic Black cemetery in Denton County. 

Champion-Macedonia Cemetery CBS 11 News Texas

The Champion-Macedonia Cemetery is hidden away on a small property just off I-35 in Lewisville, surrounded by warehouses and parking lots.  

"So as people are driving by here, if they don't know the history, they'd never know it was here," said Jacqueline Shaw, who has lived in Lewisville almost three decades. 

She didn't know the cemetery existed until someone asked her about it a few years ago. 

The cemetery was founded in the 1880s and holds more than 100 graves, some of which date back to slavery. Many are unmarked. 

"Happy that I found them, but sad that I didn't know they were here," Shaw said, describing her emotions the first time she came to the cemetery. "So just looking around and saying to them, 'I'm so sorry. We didn't know you were here, but now that we know, we're coming back.'" 

Shaw made it her mission to restore the cemetery to its original glory, organizing massive clean-ups on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2022 and 2023. 

Those efforts caught the eye of Victoria Meyers, a 17-year-old high school student who lives in Carrollton. 

"It was just a dumping ground for trees and leaves," she said. 

That didn't sit well with Meyers, who has been a Girl Scout for more than 12 years. 

"Girl Scouts is very big on helping your community in some kind of way," Meyers said. "In order to change the world, you have to start small. You need to start locally, like a place like this." 

Meyers is adopting the historic cemetery for her Gold Project. She has a big vision for what it could be. 

"Not just a one-time event or cleanup, but a place that can withstand the elements and withstand people coming here for years to come, so this can be a historical place that people know," she said. 

Meyers hopes to raise $20,000 by October for benches, lighting, an entry-way arch with the cemetery's name, and an iron fence to go around the entire perimeter.  

The goal is to have it all in place for a re-opening next MLK Day, January 15th, 2024. 

"It's so important to know our history and preserve it so our children behind us and for years to come will be able to know it's here," Shaw said. 

They believe the cemetery is a piece of North Texas history worth preserving. 

"So many of these people were born into slavery or died into slavery," Meyers said. "I don't even know if they were able to be freed." 

She hopes to ensure the Champion-Macedonia Cemetery is well-kept and beautiful for many years to come. 

If you would like to donate to her Gold Award project, you can make a check payable to Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, with the memo: "For Victoria Myers' Slave Cemetery Gold Award project." Mail it to PO Box 110960, Carrollton, TX, 75011-0960. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.