Tour through local cemetery highlights trailblazing African Americans in San Antonio

SAACAM hosts tour at Eastview Cemetery during Dream Week

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: This story was first published in 2021.

Everyone has a story.

However, Deborah Omowale Jarmon, the Executive Director of the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum, says the trailblazing stories of people of color -- have been historically harder to find.

“What you’ll find not just with African Americans but with people of color is that our stories weren’t written so we have to investigate our stories,” Jarmon said.

It’s why SAAACAM is hosting a tour in Eastview Cemetery on Saturday of local African American historical icons and the impact they made in the community.

“What cemeteries do is they give us a peak at some of that buried history so we can discover more about our ancestors,” Jarmon said.

Each tour will last about 45 minutes in the south end of the cemetery, where the majority of people who are buried are African American, some dating back to the early 1920s.

“They can expect a safe, socially-distanced tour,” Jarmon said. “We are going to have docents and we are going to explore about 11 gravesites of some pretty amazing people.”

One of those amazing people includes Myra Davis Hemmings.

She was one of the founders of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, establishing the local chapter in San Antonio. Hemmings was also a famous actress who starred in many race films when they were popular in the first half of the 20th century.

“Another notable will be one of the Suttons -- we’ll go to a couple of their gravesites, but we’ll talk about Reverend Alexander Carver Sutton and George Washington Carver, was his godfather and he was the Texas president of the NAACP and he was also the owner of Sutton Funeral Home,” Jarmon said.

Jarmon hopes the tour can bring people together and inspire others to make a difference.

“When you are walking and talking about people who used to live here and what they contributed to San Antonio what you realize is that you have something to contribute as well.”

The tours will take place this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Eastview cemetery.

Tickets cost $25 and must be bought online before Saturday.

About the Author:

Sarah Acosta is a weekend Good Morning San Antonio anchor and a general assignments reporter at KSAT12. She joined the news team in April 2018 as a morning reporter for GMSA and is a native South Texan.