Success! A new law establishing legal consequences and fines for locking people out of cemeteries and for obstructing access went into effect this fall in Texas. Publication of Love Cemetery set off the state-wide controversy over burial grounds that continues to grow. Despite the new law in effect, the Love Cemetery committee is still locked out after 2.5 years. Before we got involved (2003), descendants had been locked out for 40 years.
Families and friends of historic black cemeteries are joining hands and reaching out across the U.S. From Scottsville, Houston, and West Columbia, Texas to New York City, we're documenting this controversy and we won't stop! Help us finish this documentary for television, theatrical release, and schools across the nation!
Go to www.chinagalland.com to view our trailer and see why the Dean of the Jesuit's university of San Francisco Law School says this story is critical and needs to get out. Love represents one small community in East Texas that's locked out. From the height of the Civil Rights in the 1960's to 2003, love descendents were locked out until the Keeper of Love, Mrs. Nuthel Britton, asked China to help her track down surrounding landowners. We see the community get back into the cemetery and reconstitute itself out of new and old relationships that break down old barriers between faith communities races and economic class. We reconstructed the 175 year old burial ground at Love Cemetery in an interfaith ceremony, only to be locked out again on March 10th, 2007. That's when a new owner, a Marshall, Texas timber company surprised us by announcing that they'd changed the lock on the gate. It would take $1,000,000 of liability insurance to get back in. Though Snider Industries has reduced their demand to $100,000, and though new Texas regulations expressly throw out requiring insurance to access cemeteries, everyone is still locked out. In South Texas, our friend Rev. Sampson Thompson (see trailer at www.chinagalland.com) has had his life threatened and is now being sued for $39,000 of legal fees the surrounding landowner ran up while illegally locking the Thompsons out. The Houston appeals court ruling that ordered access for the Thompsons continues to be ignored. Owners outspend these families, divide the community and wear them down until only a handful of courageous individuals like Doris Vittatoe and Rev. Sampson Thompson still stand. The good news is now that people across the country now stand with them too, and that includes you when you donate to our matching grant fund! Click on our paypal button to donate or click here to send a donation by snail mail.