Odd Fellows Cemetery

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 UTK Odd Fellows Cemetery Project
 UTK Odd Fellows Cemetery Initiative

Restoration of Odd Fellows Cemetery Continues with City Support

Odd Fellows CemeteryIt had become a field of weeds and destroyed tombstones. Odd Fellows Cemetery, one of Knoxville’s first African-American cemeteries, was neglected and overgrown.

In 2009, a community restoration effort began with the University of Tennessee School of Architecture, the volunteer-based Knoxville ReAnimation Coalition and the City of Knoxville. 

Established by various civic groups in the early 1880s, Odd Fellows serves as the resting place for some of the city's most prominent early black residents, including Cal Johnson, Knoxville's first black millionaire. The work of restoring and preserving the cemetery’s history continues today on the property, which is located on Bethel Avenue and adjoins Walter Hardy Park off Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. 
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Film Pays Tribute to Civil War Solders Interred in Odd Fellows Cemetery

Odd Fellow Cemetery
Be sure and view this video, "The Cemetery of Life," by local filmmaker Siam J. Manuels with the Knoxville Re-Animation Coalition and others.

The documentary tells the story of the Odd Fellows Cemetery in East Knoxville, the final resting place for 30 Civil War veterans who'd served in the 1st U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery unit. The African-American soldiers are hailed as "the protectors of Knoxville." But many of their graves lack identification, and preservationists who aim to honor the families and veterans interred in Odd Fellows Cemetery have to both pick up litter and beat back invasive vegetation.

The film applauds members of the coalition, City of Knoxville crews and the University of Tennessee researchers for their preservation efforts, but more work is needed to fully restore dignity and honor to Odd Fellows.  
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Watch the Cemetery of Life Video