"I'm one of those people who can't not read every tombstone—they scream at me for their names to be heard." –Natasha Tretheway
Many visitors to the cemetery may be surprised at the number of black Mississippians interred at Greenwood, but given the complex history of the region and of race relations in Mississippi, that surprise may soon give way to a deeper consideration of the commonalities of our human condition. This walking tour deepens our understanding of Jackson history by revealing what such tours usually gloss over: the rich tapestry of human achievement beyond the usual luminaries. Interred in the cemetery are laborers, business men and women, housewives, farmers, bakers, midwives, teachers, former slaves.
Taken together, these representative lives help us to imagine a more vibrant community history;
considered alongside their white counterparts, we may begin to wonder at the false divisions crafted
by political and social policy which kept apart in life those who lie side by side in death. For example,
census data reveals shifting legal classifications as the nation sought to define what it meant to be
"white" and "not-white"; Benjamin F. Hardy, Alabama native and buried here at Greenwood, went
from a classification of "white" to "black" in a matter of three federal census takings.
As is always the case, the scant information
on display in a cemetery surfaces more
questions upon contemplation than
We invite and encourage you to follow
whatever paths of inquiry your tour
today may suggest to you.
The complete list of nearly ninety African American monuments is available by email, as is a work-in-progress list of unmarked African American graves. Requests should be sent to email@example.com.
|1. John Moore and Martha Webb Moore
||John Moore and Martha Webb
Moore were both born in Mississippi.
John Moore was a carpenter
and Martha Moore was a cook. John's
monument is marked by the Grand
United Order of Odd Fellows, and
Martha's monument is marked by
the Household of Ruth, the female
counterpart to the GUOOF. Social
organizations like the Grand United Order
of Odd Fellows were formed to counter
the prohibition of black members in white
organizations like the Independent Order of
|2. Isaac Washington
||Isaac Washington's marker also bears the
insignia of the GUOOF Lodge 8722. He
worked as a fish peddler and died of an internal
injury at the age of seventy-eight. He
is buried in a lot with Phillis Johnson and
her daughter Julia Johnson Jones. Phillis
Johnson was born in 1856 in Mississippi On
the 1900 census, Phillis was listed as a widow
and was the head of the household, working
as a laundrywoman and living in a rented
house on Monument Street. While Phillis
could neither read nor write, all four of her
children, Rosa, Fannie, Joseph, and Julia,
were able to do so.
|3. Henry V. Thomas and Fannie C. Thomas
||Henry V. Thomas and Fannie C. Thomas owned a florist shop where they both worked.
|4. William Henry Lanier
||William Henry Lanier was the first Superintendent
of Jackson Colored Schools. He was
born a slave in Huntsville, AL. He studied
at Tougaloo, Oberlin, and Fisk Colleges and
received a B.A. from Roger Williams University.
He served as President of Alcorn College
for six years and was the Principal
of Robertson School from 1912-1929.
Lanier High School is so named in his
|5. Junius A Tharp
||Junius A Tharp was a bricklayer. His
wife, Olivia, was a nurse. They had three
children: Doris, Catherine, and Sidney.
Sidney R. Tharp went on to become a
lawyer with offices on N. Farish Street.
|6. Evangeline Byrd
||Evangeline Byrd, was a well-known and highly respected midwife. A widow according to the 1920 census, she lived with her son William and daughter Ola at her home on Church Street. Augustus M. Redmond, pharmacist at Redmond Drug Store on Farish Street is entombed in the brick vault south of Evangeline.
|7. Sarah "Sallie" Campbell Dawson
||Sarah "Sallie" Campbell Dawson—Sarah
Dawson was born in Missouri in 1846 and
was a teacher at Smith Robertson School
in Jackson. She was married to William
Dawson, a plasterer. She is buried in this
plot with her granddaughters, Ruby Alma
Dawson, Georgia B. Dawson, and Lillian
M. Dawson. Ruby and Georgia were also
teachers at Smith Robertson School.
|8. Maria Risher
|| According to the 1900 census, Maria
Risher was a widowed seamstress. The family's
company, Risher Bakery Co., provided
employment opportunities for various members
of the family. Next to her is Maria C.
Greene who was of mixed race and married
to a railroad worker by the name of Robert
Greene. Around 1920, Robert was enumerated
in Washington D.C., living with a son
or daughter, while Maria lived with her
other children and her mother in Jackson.
Directly behind them is Jesse Hobbs, who
died in 1865, and is believed to have been
a freed slave. If so, his is the oldest African
American monument in the cemetery.
|9. Helen M. Glover
||Helen M. Glover—On the 1880 census,
the Glover family was listed as a family
of mixed race. Her father, George Glover
was a carriage maker and her mother Lucy
worked as a midwife.
|10. Mariah Span Cade
||Mariah Span Cade—Mariah Cade was
born in Mississippi and married Isham C.
Cade, a man of mixed race born in Tennessee
in 1835. Isham was a baker by trade.
According to the 1870 census, both Mariah
and Isham worked at the Insane Asylum.
|11. Reverend Marion Dunbar
||Reverend Marion Dunbar, a Georgia
native, was a deacon for the black
slaves who were allowed to hold
services in the basement of the First
Baptist Church and the first pastor
at Mt. Helm Baptist Church, the
first church for African Americans
in Jackson. Dunbar is also listed
as a blacksmith in the 1870 census.
His wife, Lydia, was a native
of South Carolina.
|12. Earle Willard and Jimmie Neil Banks
||12. Earle Willard and Jimmie
Neil Banks—The Bankses were
the proprietors of Peoples Funeral Home (est. 1925) located on Farish
Street where their son, Earle W. Banks Jr,
later worked as an undertaker. Mrs. Banks
was a lifelong resident of Jackson. She
attended Holy Ghost Catholic School,
the first black Catholic school in Jackson,
and graduated valedictorian of her
class. She went on to attend Tougaloo
College and married in 1926. After her
husband's death in 1985, Mrs. Banks
became part owner of the funeral home
and was an avid seamstress, gardener,
and writer until she died of heart failure
in 1998 at the age of 93.
|13. Archie B. Hopkins
||Archie B. Hopkins and her daughters
Lula Mae and Albertine (Mason)
lived with Archie's mother Irene Reid
(1872-1947) and Irene's husband Moses
Reid. Archie taught at Mary C. Jones
School. Both daughters became teachers.
Lula Mae married Lucius Patton, who
was also a school teacher. She taught
at Smith Robertson School and E. A.
Ware School. Albertine Mason taught at
Lanier and Murrah High Schools.
|14. Benjamin F. Hardy
||Benjamin F. Hardy—Benjamin Hardy
was a native of Alabama. In 1860, he
was listed among free white inhabitants
with no special designation. On the 1870
census he was listed as white with a black
wife, Ellen, and several black children.
In 1870 Benjamin became a printer. On
the 1880 census he was listed as black,
working on a farm. Benjamin died at the
age of 56 in 1886.
|15. Susan Ross
||Born in Virginia, Susan Ross was married
to Alex a teamster/drayman. The
had twelve children, nine living by the
time of the 1900 census. Three of those
children would eventually teach in the
public schools and remained in the
|16. Charles Morgan
||Illustrative of the difficulty in relying
on census and directory data, the 1900
census lists Charles Morgan (1845-1902)
as a janitor living with his wife
Carrie Morgan and their family
on Congress Street. In the
1901 City Directory, he
is listed as a porter at the
post office and living on
|17. Lizzie Rogers
||Lizzie Rogers was
married to Robert Rogers, a drayman She died at age thirty-eight of
|18. Mary Jane Miner/Minor
||Mary Jane Miner/Minor, widowed
by 1900, was an employee
of the state Insane Hospital. Ella
Lemons was a seamstress married
|19. Lydia Franklin
||Lydia Franklin was a native of
South Carolina. She was of mixed
race and worked as a seamstress.
She lived with her husband
Arnold, a house servant, in
|20. Mary Wallington
||Mary Wallington worked as a washwoman
and was married to Henry, a truck farmer.
While they lived in Beat 5, not the city of
Jackson, she is interred here at Greenwood.
|21. Harry S. Marino and Bettie C. Marino
||Harry S. Marino and Bettie C. Marino
Harry was a porter and cotton sampler for
W. J. Davis & Co. Bettie was a teacher at
Smith Robertson School.
|22. Jennie V. Grayson
||Jennie V. Grayson was a single woman of
mixed race born in Mississippi. Jennie lived
with her brother William and worked as a
dressmaker and seamstress.
|23. Albert Lee Johnson and his brother,
Pinckney J. Johnson,
||Albert Lee Johnson and his brother,
Pinckney J. Johnson, were Mississippi
natives. Albert Johnson's monument
bears the insignia of GUOOF Lodge
1927. He is buried next to his brother
|24. Virgil Ruffin Sr.
||Virgil Ruffin Sr.
was a day laborer at
Taylor's Brickyard. He
and his wife, Sallie,
had twelve children.
Ten of them were
living by the 1900
|25. Catherine "Kate" Williams
||Catherine "Kate" Williams was
born a slave. After emancipation, she continued
to work for the Winter family and is
buried in their family plot.
|26. The Redmond Family
||The Redmond Family is buried in a shared
vault. Interred here are Dr. Sidney D.
Redmond, physician, pharmacist,
businessman, and lawyer;
his brother, Andrew J.
Redmond; his first wife,
Ida Revels Redmond;
his second wife, Johnnie
King Redmond; and his
daughter with his second
wife, Linnie Naomi Redmond.
|27. Professor Samuel Manuel Brinkley
||Professor Samuel Manuel Brinkley was an
educator who served as teaching principal of
Hill School, the first organized junior high
school program for African American students
in Jackson Public Schools. Brinkley
Middle School is named in his honor. His
wife is believed to be buried next to him.
|28. Laura Ferguson
||Laura Ferguson was born in Madison
County in 1845. She was married to
George Ferguson, a drayman. Daisy, her
daughter from a former marriage lived
with them and was a music teacher.
|29. Susan Jones ("Our Mammy Sue")
||Susan Jones ("Our Mammy Sue") was a
freed slave who remained with the family
for whom she worked until her death.
She is interred in the family plot.
|30. Secretary of State James D. Lynch
||Secretary of State James D.
Lynch was born to free black parents
in 1839. He graduated from Kimball
Academy in New Hampshire at the
age of 18. He was unable to continue
his education due to the failure of
his father's business, so he became
a teacher and minister in the AME
Church. In 1867, he connected with
the Methodist Episcopal Church
and relocated to Mississippi. 1n
1869 he was elected to the office of
Secretary of State by a large margin;
his term was cut short by his
death in December of that year
due to a chronic lung illness.