North Tulsa cemetery finally being cleaned up after months without grounds keeping

TULSA, Okla. — Knee-high grass and weeds choke the headstones at Crown Hill Cemetery on 66th Street North. The cemetery was originally founded for African Americans.

Some buildings there were built with bricks reclaimed from the destruction of Greenwood during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

The cemetery owner, Arik White, said it’s a personnel issue that’s gotten out of hand.

“It’s hard to get workers to work outside and do this type of work. One of the workers quit when the grass got so bad,” White said.

That left White with two lawnmowers and only one yard worker. That’s when the community stepped in to help. People like Peppe Johnson who has family members buried here.

Johnson said, “I just took it upon myself last year, when I lost my daughter, to come out here and try to take care of the cemetery.” There’s still a lot of work to do. People are helping with donations.

“The Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, you know, everybody just donating gas money and, you know, stuff that we need out here,” he continued.

White wants people to know he accepts responsibility for the neglect.

“I would sincerely like to apologize for the way that things have been going on out here. I’m doing my best. I will do better,” White said. He wants to hire more people and buy two more lawnmowers.