Bringing honor to Huntsville’s forgotten in Glenwood Cemetery

single-meta-cal October 21, 2018

There is no place where I get a greater sense of Huntsville’s past than walking through Glenwood Cemetery. As Huntsville’s oldest surviving African-American burial ground, it’s a storied and vital part of our heritage.

With markers dating back 150 years, many of the individuals buried here were born slaves, emancipated, and lived out the remainder of their days in Alabama. Buried at Glenwood are people of great accomplishment, including doctors, educators, political leaders, and artisans. More importantly, they were mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives.

Established in 1870, Glenwood Cemetery is the largest African-American City-owned cemetery in the southeast. Tucked away on Hall Avenue near downtown Huntsville, there were no burial records at Glenwood until the 1950s, and there was no historical plot of the cemetery. Valuable work has already begun to preserve this history.

Glenwood Cemetery needing preservation

Many of Glenwood’s graves, monuments, and fencing need repair and preservation

Working with community volunteers, the City undertook a major project to identify, locate and catalog thousands of graves in Glenwood, many of which were unmarked. This effort led to Glenwood’s listing in Alabama’s Register of Historical Cemeteries, in 2015 with the hope of pursuing a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

Glenwood Cemetery Restoration Project

Archeological data in hand, the City is now focusing on a plan to fully repair, restore and preserve the fragile monuments and gravesites at Glenwood. Through the grassroots “Adopt a Monument” program, individuals have already donated $8,000 toward preservation. A good start – but much more is needed for us to restore Glenwood’s human past and to tell the African American story to future generations.

The cost to restore each monument ranges from $350 to $2,000, according to master craftsman Skip Stenson, who is leading the City’s restoration. If each civic group, church, school or club pitched in to help fund the work, we will save the history of many of these forgotten people who were a critical part of Huntsville’s community.

Help us to preserve and remember

Please consider a donation to the Glenwood Cemetery Restoration Project.  Your participation plays a vital role in helping us to save the markers of Huntsville’s human history and to reclaim the lives of these forgotten people.

Call 256-532-5326 or email

READ:  Paying our respects at Glenwood Cemetery