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Untold Stories from Oak Hill

Jeanne Klein, Professor Emerita, Kansas University, has been working on a project to find information about untold stories of black citizens buried in Oak Hill Cemetery. This historic Lawrence cemetery was established in 1865 and became the resting place for a number of people who were killed in the 1863 raid on the city by William Quantrill. So many notable figures were buried at Oak Hill that William Allen White referred to it as the “Arlington of Kansas.” Oak Hill was integrated by 1868 and many notable black citizens were buried there, including the minister Gabriel Gray, Charles and Mary Langston, the grandparents of Langston Hughes, and a number of veterans of the 79th and 83rd U.S. Colored Troops. However, a number of graves of other black citizens have damaged markers or no markers at all. Fortunately, burial records do exist and Klein is using them and consulting other historical sources to recreate lost stories. Klein urged people to visit Oak Hill and to support maintenance and restoration efforts.