Washington Park Cemetery is the largest African-American cemetery in St. Louis. Founded in 1920, at a time when segregation was the norm, it quickly became a popular spot for African-American burials. Unfortunately, over time, the cemetery became neglected. By the late 1990s, because of airport expansion and other construction, the City of St. Louis took ownership of the cemetery and moved many of the bodies. The graves that remained were generally overgrown; many of the stones toppled.
Recently, the cemetery's new owners have begun a massive cleanup of the site, and here is where your help is needed. On the first weekend of every month (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), as long as the weather is good, volunteers will be working at the cemetery to restore it to its former dignity. Work will be ongoing each day from 8 a.m. until dusk.The owners hope you will bring any tools that might be helpful such as lawnmowers, weed eaters, chain saws, and hedge trimmers, and that you will come whenever you can and stay for as long as you can. Obviously, the more people who show up, the better, so please pass this information on to others.
For more information on Washington Park Cemetery, go to: http://www.stlouiscityrecorder.org/archives/cemetery/washingtonparkcemetery.html . If you have questions, please contact Calvin Whitaker at 314-406-0518 or Chris Whitaker at 314-387-0345.