“They must be turning over in their graves”
By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
As I began to cover this story, I want to say that we will not publish all of the photos of the desecrated scenes in this hallowed sacred resting place of our deceased. It is deplorable and sickening – what I saw and what I witnessed. The horror stories and possibilities of corrupt activities abound and those involved, shocking IF FOUND TO BE TRUE. We will post the interviews of Mr. Richard C. Macon and Mr. Elijah Wooten as well as the coverage of the Press conference on our website. This is only the beginning.—Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
In light of a most recent City of Pompano Commission meeting, there was an item that generated more sparks than a bundle of sparkles at a fireworks show. That item was the discussion of the possibility of the selling of land of the Black owned Westview Community Cemetery.
This is not the first time that this cemetery which has, with the help of members outside of the community, applied for historic status and has commanded the attention of a wide array of an audience.
Established in 1940 Westview Cemetery has endured historical preservation to neglect, to resurrection to desecration. Westview Community Cemetery has seen it all! Not certain if the manner of which the sell of the property has been addressed before, but right now there is some serious contention.
A press conference was held on Sunday, September 26, 2021 at Westview Community Cemetery, located on 1900 NW 24th Street, Pompano Beach Florida 33060. As members of the community showed up to voice their concerns and wantlng answers, unfortunately, no one who could address the issues and supply answers was there.
Among those who spoke at the press conference were: Community activist, Florida State Senate District 33 candidate and community leader Terry Ann Williams Edden; Florida State Representative Patricia H. Williams, District 92; and former City of Pompano Beach Commissioner Ed Phillips; resident Kevin Eason; and businessman Dwyane Shepperd. Their stance on the manner in which the process of the actions of the current board members of Westview Community Cemetery to sell the property was a unanimous one of disapproval and that it was illegal .
Other community members who provided firsthand knowledge as to the origins of the cemetery, its purpose and how it was supposed to function, which included 92 year old Mr. Richard C. Macon, an original and former Board member and owner of Freeman Funeral Home as well as 89 year old Mr. Elijah Wooten , another former Board member of the Westview Cemetery attended this event as well.
The Westview Community Cemeter, located at 1900 NW 24th Street Pompano Beach, Florida, was established around 1940 according to an application for historical rites. Many believe that the cemetery should have been deemed long time ago as a historical landmark within the State of Florida Registry due to its rich history.
According to Ms. Eden, “the process behind selling a cemetery to developers without the community’s permission allegedly by four Board members who are assigned to oversee the Westview Community Cemetery property was not in the best interest of the community cemetery.”
Resident Kevin Easton stated that the community came together on Sunday because our concerns centered around the Board of Directors’ unauthorized selling of cemetery vacant land to developers who wanted to turn approximately 18 Acres of cemetery property into an industrial park.
“Westview Community Cemetery is home too many prominent citizens from Pompano Beach during times when whites did not want Blacks being buried in their cemetery claiming years ago that Black bodies contaminated white cemeteries”, said Eden.
Westview is the final resting place for some of Pompano’s most important Black celebrities, World War II Veterans, Black millionaires, teachers, lawyers, politicians, business owners, former slaves and a host of other great pioneers.
Perturbed Ed Phillips questioned the act of such a group to sale history without concern of others. “How can we allow our history to go up for sale. Many families chose Westview Community Cemetery as a final resting place for their love ones, and yet they couldn’t even imagine years later that their graves would be disturbed, desecrated, damaged, disrupted and or be poorly maintained by a cemetery board.”
Mrs. Williams Edden also said what she witnessed at the cemetery was quite appalling and very shocking as what appeared to be human bones exposed in an opened grave, without any reasonable cures to correcting this gross miscarriage of justice being brought against our honored dead.
As I walked through the graveyard I witnessed some of the worst conditions found interfering with the final resting places of citizens who made significant contributions to the Pompano Beach community.
“The citizens of Pompano Beach Community are calling for help to find a cure that rectifies and/or halts the selling of our community’s cemetery land to developers who want an industrial park that will further disturb the final resting places of our most beloved citizens. We don’t know for sure that our love ones aren’t buried in that land.”-Terry Williams Edden
Florida State Representative Patricia H. Williams District 92 is puzzled and confused, and she begs for unity in a plea for understanding. “Why is this happening to us? My Heart, like the hearts of many residents, is very heavy at this moment. Because many of “OUR” loved ones are buried here. We ALL MUST work together to protect this sacred, hallowed ground. Remember this is a cemetery that has been available to our communities for over 80 years. We do not want history to record that we violated this area through any acts of desecration. I never thought that I would have to protect the land that we lay our loved ones for their final resting. Unity is needed and it’s needed NOW!”
Tune into the 2-Minute Warning LIVE this Thursday, September 30th via the Westside Gazette Facebook or Youtube Page
at 8 p.m., EST for a community dialogue about this story.