Family fights to save historic cemetery

By Samantha Ptashkin - Reporter

HOUSTON - A family is fighting to save a historic cemetery that is home to former slaves and African-Americans who never received a proper burial.

The Bradshaw Cemetery is located near the corner of Maxey and Church Roads. Currently, people can only view a few grave sites from the 21st century. The rest are either covered by brush or there is no marker for them.

"This cemetery has been around for a long, long time," said Ethel Nelloms Mills, whose family owned the property for several decades.

Her mother is buried at the cemetery and her grave site is one of the visible grave sites. That's why earlier this week, she and other family members became upset when a developer started bulldozing part of the land and possibly grave sites.

On Thursday afternoon, community activist Quanell X met with family members at the cemetery to call for the bulldozing to stop.

"I'm here to make sure my ancestors are not treated like trash," Quanell X said.

The bulldozer and other equipment have since been removed, but they still have no idea who the developer is that is responsible.

According to realtor Richard Williamson, the family no longer owns the property. The family admits and Williamson agrees, through the years there have been family disputes and paperwork regarding the property has been mishandled.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, Williamson says the property was sold to his client, who currently has the property up for sale. Williamson says both he and his client also don't know who the developer is that is responsible for the bulldozer.

Regardless of who owns the property, the family says grave sites should not be desecrated. They're hoping state and county leaders will help them place an official landmark at the site, designating it as a cemetery. They would also like to get the brush cleared, in order to locate more grave sites.

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