Mt. Glenwood Memory Gardens South, Glenwood

About Mt. Glenwood Memory Gardens South, Glenwood

The cemetery’s real existence began in the summer of 1908, when a Mr. Patton became acquainted with Dr. E.S. Miller, J.L. Parks, R.M. Leach, Jackson Gordon and L.W. Dickerson . These men, particularly Mr. Patton, noted the changing environment and the need for equality and formed Mount Glenwood Memory Gardens.

“The unrest, and heavy heartedness of a Washerwoman telling how she had to pay $50.00 for a grave and white people $25.00 stirred his very being. [Mr. Patton] decided to give them a chance the same as any other citizen.” – The Chicago Defender, “The Origin of Mt. Glenwood Cemetery” October 29, 1910.

So while the rest of the nation was still getting over the Civil War, Mt. Glenwood Memory Gardens became the first cemetery in the Chicago to bury African-Americans. “On Decoration Day, 300 people took a special C. & E. I. train for Mount Glenwood cemetery. The cemetery is a beautiful sight to behold. It is locked in, as it were, by the forest. At intervals a train on the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railway passes, making its appearance and dissapearing as if on a stage.” – The Chicago Defender, “Decoration Day at Mt. Glenwood” June 4, 1910.

As the above article states, there used to be a train stop at Mount Glenwood Cemetery. Weekend trains would run on the following schedule: 2:15 from Dearborn Station, 2:25 from 47th and Wallace, and 2:30 from Englewood station. Families would come from across the country to pay respect to their beloved. Picnics were a regular weekend event at Mount Glenwood Cemetery! The train station was at what-is-now the rear of the cemetery.

“Mount Glenwood Cemetery…is reputed to be the first racially integrated cemetery in the Chicago region. During the early twentieth century, African Americans traveled by train from Chicago to bury their dead in the cemetery. Notable black Chicagoans who are buried in Mount Glenwood include Elijah Muhammad, founder of the Nation of Islam, Fred (Duke) Slater, Illinois’ first African American circuit court judge [and the first African-American inducted in the NFL Hall of Fame], and Marshall “Major” Taylor, who in the 1890s was rated as the world’s fastest bicyclist.” – Encyclopedia of Chicago History

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