Resting Place for Civil Rights Pioneer Daisy Bates Neglected

MAY 15, 2006 - Posted at 8:02 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - The Arkansas Humanities Council and the

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program say the Haven of Rest

Cemetery's rich history makes it worth safeguarding. The

historically black cemetery was founded in 1932. Among those buried

there are Daisy Bates, who guided the black students who made

national history when they integrated Central High School in 1957;

Lena Lowe Jordan, a black registered nurse who helped bring

hospital services to the black community, and Scipio A. Jones, a

prominent black lawyer.

Now, the cemetery is in slipshod condition and in danger of

being lost to the past.

Years of neglect have left the cemetery without a clear owner,

controlled by a court-appointed receiver and owing the Internal

Revenue Service more than one (m) million dollars. A debt of some

200-thousand dollars to the Arkansas Cemetery Board's fund for

troubled cemeteries also has gone unpaid.

The graveyard has no serious prospects for future income. Nearly

all the burial sites on the 17 acres are taken. Meanwhile, it costs

about 25-hundred dollars just to mow the grass because the grounds

are uneven and crews must work around thousands of upright


City leaders haven't ruled out taking over the cemetery, but the

city is still in the fact-finding stage. A Pulaski County Circuit

judge entered a foreclosure order on the property in 2000, and it's

possible the property may be sold at public auction.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)