Relatives come from across nation to pay respects at black cemetery

In a once-forgotten cemetery, surrounded by family, both living and dead, 91-year-old Leon Lewis spoke of his heritage.

“This is the starting place of my ancestors,” he said. “This is where they came out of slavery. It’s important for the children to see and know this.”

Lewis, the oldest surviving member of the Lewis-Logan family of Lakeview, traveled from his home in Denver to address the group of about 35 relatives who gathered at the Lakeview cemetery Friday. Buried in the all-black cemetery, on a hill east of Lecompton, were about 30 adults and about 20 infants.

Lewis said Thomas Crowder donated the cemetery to Lewis’ great-grandfather, a former slave, in 1879, and it was used as a burial site for African Americans from the Douglas County area until about 1940. Lewis said he thought there was no other place for the blacks of the area to bury their dead at that time because cemeteries were segregated.

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