HOUSTON – Olivewood is along I-10, an interstate that runs from Florida to California and right through downtown Houston, and sits right on the banks of White Oak Bayou. It’s hidden by a swath of trees, so you’d never notice it was there from the freeway, and once you’re on city streets, it’s set back behind a medical building.
The cemetery is an important piece of Houston history: it was the first known cemetery for blacks and is the burial site of many influential African-Americans from the 19th century, including Reverend Elias Dibble, first minister of Trinity United Methodist Church; Reverend Wade H. Logan, also a minister of the church; James Kyle, a blacksmith; and Richard Brock, the cemetery’s founder and Houston’s first black alderman.
Brock purchased the land in 1875 and in 1877 he opened Olivewood as the first cemetery for black Methodists. Prior to its incorporation, Olivewood’s land had previously been used to bury slaves.