JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Greenwood Cemetery was established early in Jackson’s history. It’s all welcoming. Meaning if you died in Jackson early on, you were buried here. No matter religion, social status or race, scattered out amongst each other. Cecile Wardlaw with Friends of Greenwood Cemetery gets asked about it all the time.
“I’m always amazed at how few people know that there are Black and white in this cemetery. This was Jackson’s original cemetery and everybody who lived here was eligible to be buried here,” he said.
Dr. Sidney Redmond’s vault is here. He was an African American man, born of parents who had been enslaved. He went to medical school in Chicago and came back to Jackson to practice. He also became a lawyer. His first wife, Ida Revels, was the daughter of the first African American man to serve in the United States Senate, Hiram Revels, elected from Mississippi in 1870.
The Redmond Vault has deteriorated over the decades and was in need of repairs. Trees had sprouted from the roof and the bricks had started crumbling.
“It’s brick, it was leaking and there were trees growing in it. We’re cleaning all that up and sealing it up,” said Wardlaw.
Greg Tolliver is doing the work. This has been an ongoing project off and on for a few years with the final push taking place now.
“We’re doing the cap now with Portland and sand. We try to use something similar to what they used back then. I don’t know where they got it from. It was a long time ago. They did have some Portland, so we used that,” said brick mason Greg Tolliver.
The Redmond family is in the same cemetery with governors, generals, statesmen, writers and just folks. These are people who took care of us, our city, when they were alive. It’s up to us to take care of them now.
Wardlaw said there will be some type of dedication of the finished work on the Redmond Vault in February.