Historic Markers Across Alabama

African-American Rosemere Cemetery (Lee County)

Marker ID:  
Location: in the cemetery on Long St, Opelika, AL
County: Lee
Coordinates: N 32° 38.025    W 085° 23.294
  32.63375    -85.38823333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMM2AD


African-American Rosemere Cemetery
Lee County

Side 1
On February 9, 1876, the City of Opelika paid D.B. Preston $80 for two acres of land to establish an African-American section of Rosemere Cemetery. This rectangular area of the cemetery contains 176 blocks, with 16 being partial blocks. A full block has 32 grave spaces. Dr. John Wesley Darden (1876-1949) settled in Opelika in 1903. He became the first African-American doctor within a 30 mile radius. He married Miss Maude Jean Logan. After they were married, Dr. and Mrs. Darden made house calls in his horse and buggy. Dr. Darden opened a drug store on Avenue A and recruited his brother, John Benjamin "J.B." Darden, as his partner. J.B. had recently graduated and was a registered pharmacist. Two other doctors are also buried here: Dr. William F. Clark (1882-1966) and Dr. Eugene A. Lindsey (1888-1955).

Side 2
Willie Bessie Brady (1904-1999), known as Miss Bessie, taught in a private, one room school. Although without a college education, she taught grades one through twelve. After school attendance laws were enacted, Miss Bessie had to close her school, but because of overcrowding at the public school, she was later allowed to teach with a V Certificate. She taught Kindergarten at the first public Kindergarten for African-American children at the Central Parks and Recreation center in Opelika. Elder Brooks, Sr. (1908-1970) was the first African-American licensed plumber and electrician in Opelika. He was also among the first African Americans to vote. More than 50 veterans are buried in this section. They include veterans of WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Seven Ministers of the Gospel who guided the community are at rest here.

Listed in the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register, June 14, 2011

Erected by the City of Opelika, 2013

End of African-American Rosemere Cemetery (Lee County)