Galveston Historical Foundation

Rosewood Cemetery Listed on National Register of Historic Places

Galveston’s first burial ground designated exclusively for African Americans is the latest site to be listed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.

Recognition in the National Register of Historic Places puts Rosewood Cemetery on the official list of significant historic sites in the United States. It is a wonderful step forward to bring dignity to this traditional burial ground for our African American community. Rosewood is part of a growing list of places to visit and learn from in Galveston’s rich history. – Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation’s Executive Director

Established in 1911 by a group of African American citizens who organized themselves as the Rosewood Cemetery Association, the association purchased the land from the Joe Levy Family, and 86 shares were divided among 26 shareholders. Churches, associations, societies, and individuals, including the Wright Cuney Lodge, purchased the shares. The first person buried was Robert Bailey on February 1, 1912, and the last burial was Frank Boyer on June 29, 1944.

This is a significant recognition. For the entombed, your soul and final resting place will forever be remembered. – Tommie Boudreaux, Chair of Galveston Historical Foundation’s African American Heritage Committee

411 graves are listed in records as being located at Rosewood. Today, markers exist for only around 20. The last known burial date is listed as 1944. Rosewood Cemetery was donated to Galveston Historical Foundation in 2006 by John and Judy Saracco and is a project of GHF’s African American Heritage Committee. In 2011, the site received a subject marker from the Texas Historical Commission.

The site is also in the final stages of a flood mitigation project that seeks to alleviate water drainage from neighboring development and is supported in part by a grant awarded by the National Park Service and Department of Interior and administered by the Texas Historical Commission.


GHF was formed as the Galveston Historical Society in 1871 and merged with a new organization formed in 1954 as a non-profit entity devoted to historic preservation and history in Galveston County. Over the last sixty years, GHF has expanded its mission to encompass community redevelopment, historic preservation advocacy, maritime preservation, coastal resiliency and stewardship of historic properties. GHF embraces a broader vision of history and architecture that encompasses advancements in environmental and natural sciences and their intersection with historic buildings and coastal life and conceives of history as an engaging story of individual lives and experiences on Galveston Island from the 19th century to the present day.

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