I awoke to a cold rain this early October morning. Looking out the window at the dark wet streets reminded me of being caught in a warm rain at Pinewood Cemetery back in the springtime. Pinewood is in Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte is pretty far south, bordering South Carolina, where the weather is hot and there is ample pulled pork and hummingbird pie to eat no matter where you go.
The cemeteries opened together in 1853, Elmwood as a final resting place for city leaders and the well-to-do, Pinewood as a segregated African American cemetery and Potter’s Field (pauper’s cemetery) (ref). According to a report by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, "the complex was the center of a civil rights controversy in the late 1960s, when city councilman Fred Alexander spearheaded a successful campaign to bring down the chain link fence separating all-white Elmwood from all-black Pinewood." The fence had been erected in the 1930s under the Jim Crow laws of the early twentieth century, which "dictated not only where African Americans could work, eat, shop, and socialize, but also where they could bury their dead."
As I was driving around Elmwood, stopping here and there to walk around and check out the statues and monuments, the cloudy sky began to sprinkle a bit. I had just spent about an hour in this lovely cemetery complex and there was still much to see. So I jumped in the car to drive around the perimeter of the cemetery until the rain stopped. Hopefully, it would stop. I figured it wouldn’t last long since it was about ninety degrees.
|W.W. Smith mausoleum|
I saw the riding mower guy zipping across the lawn heading for a cluster of tall trees – seeking cover. As I sat in my car, AC blasting, shooting out the window, the rain was belting down. Rivers of red mud washed away from the side of the paved road and rushed down the hill. Oddly, the soil here is actually red. With all the grass, you don’t really notice this.
|Groundskeeper on riding mower scurrying for cover in the rain|
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