In 1910 a young African American man came to Plano, Texas. Lee Andrew (L.A.) Davis left his home in South Texas to find work as a sharecropper. Over the years Mr. Davis would become a prominent leader in the Douglass Community, Plano’s historically African American neighborhood.
At this time in history, African Americans dealt with strict Jim Crow laws, rare economic opportunity and harsh discrimination. Under Jim Crow laws, black citizens were expected to eat at separate restaurants from white citizens, drink from separate water fountains, use separate restrooms and attend separate schools. Racial discrimination also made it very difficult to acquire property.
Armed with an innate sense of enterprise, Mr. Davis became quite the business man. Over time he accumulated wealth through stocks and real estate.
Because of Mr. Davis’ financial clout, he was able to purchase a large section of property in Plano’s Douglass Community. He then sold plots of his property to local African Americans. In 1945 Mr. Davis also bought a plot of vacant land and established a burial site, the L.A. Davis Cemetery, reserved for African Americans from the Douglass Community.
Over time, the Davis Cemetery markers grew unsightly from biological growth, soiled from pollution and damaged by the severity and extremes of Texas weather. In fall 2016 the Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation received a grant from the City of Plano Heritage Commission to restore the cemetery. Working with Texas Cemetery Restoration, a plan of action was established. From October through December, the markers were cleaned, repaired and leveled.
The cemetery that L.A. Davis established has become a historical treasure, a monument to citizens from Plano’s past. The work undertaken at the cemetery ensures that it will remain a part of our city’s rich cultural heritage for generations to come.
The Davis Cemetery is located in downtown Plano. The cemetery lies adjacent to the Old City Cemetery. From 15th Street take H avenue south. Both cemeteries will be located on the left.