Since its establishment in 1902, Mt. Glenwood was hailed as one of the first cemeteries that did not segregate against African Americans and was reputed to be the first racially integrated cemetery in the Chicago region. African Americans who were previously forced to bury their loved ones under an “assumed name”, were then allowed to bury their loved ones with dignity and respect.
Mt. Glenwood's real existence began in the summer of 1908 when 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.
While the rest of the nation was still getting over the Civil War, Mt. Glenwood Memory Gardens became the first cemetery in the area of 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 disappearing 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.
Notable black Chicagoans who are buried in Mount Glenwood include 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 1890's was rated as the world’s fastest cyclist.” – Encyclopedia of Chicago History