Greenwood Cemetery association to be honored with Rosa Parks award

University to host annual Martin Luther King commemoration at 2 p.m. Jan. 15

The Greenwood Cemetery Preservation Association honored Harriet Robinson Scott, wife of Dred Scott, with a new headstone in 2023. The association has restored the once-neglected Black cemetery, making it a site of cultural and historic significance. (Courtesy photo)

Members of the Greenwood Cemetery Preservation Association will receive the annual Rosa L. Parks Award from Washington University in St. Louis. The association has worked tirelessly to restore the historic Black cemetery on St. Louis Avenue in the north St. Louis County suburb of Hillsdale.

Association leaders Raphael and Shelley Morris and Etta Daniels, as well as other association members, will be honored at the university’s 37th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration at 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at Graham Chapel on the Danforth Campus. 

Founded in 1874, Greenwood is the final resting place for more than 50,000 Black people including Harriett Robinson Scott, wife of Dred Scott. Greenwood suffered from neglect and vandalism for decades until a group of community members and descendants of the interred stepped up to save the site. Now, Greenwood is on the National Register of Historic Places and recently was added to the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network To Freedom.

Raphael and Shelley Morris of the Greenwood Cemetery Preservation Association are joined by veteran Valerie Young (center) of VFW Post 3480 at the dedication of a new headstone for Harriet Scott in October. The association educates and engages civic organizations, student groups and other members of the St. Louis community. (Courtesy photo)

Adam Brok, a member of the commemoration committee, recently took a group of Washington University students to Greenwood to learn more about the site’s history and to volunteer. He said the students were inspired by the association’s commitment to restore the site’s social and cultural significance. 

“Raphael and Shelley Morris have done remarkable work preserving this important site for the entire St. Louis community,” Brok said. “Because of their dedication, Greenwood is, once again, a place of natural beauty. The association also has studied the history of the people buried here and have shared those stories with family members and the public.”

The ceremony also will feature a keynote address by Adia Harvey Wingfield, vice dean of faculty development and diversity and the Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor of Arts & Sciences; remarks from: Chancellor Andrew D. Martin; Kia Caldwell, vice provost for faculty affairs and diversity, professor of African and African American studies in Arts & Sciences; and the Rev. Callista Isabelle, director for religious, spiritual and ethical life; and performances by student groups Black Anthology and the Washington University Concert Choir. 

The community also is invited to participate in a service project from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Danforth University Center (DUC), Tisch Commons. Volunteers will make dental hygiene kits for the Youth and Family Center, care packages for the unhoused, blankets for area animal shelters and cards for local senior citizens. 

The ceremony is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the DUC garage. The event also will be livestreamed here

Programming will continue at the School of Medicine during Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week. Events include: 

  • School of Medicine diversity, equity and inclusion update, noon-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, Farrell Learning and Teaching Center (FLTC), Connor Auditorium. The program also will be livestreamed. 
  • Film screening: “King in the Wilderness,” 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, FLTC, Room 301, 529 S. Euclid Ave.
  • Keynote panel: School of Medicine leaders reflect on King’s impact on their work, 4:45-6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, FLTC, Connor Auditorium. The program also will be livestreamed. 
  • MLK Jr. Book Club: “The Seminarian: Martin Luther King Jr. Comes of Age,” 12:30-2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19, Cori Auditorium,  4565 McKinley Ave. 
Leave a Comment

Comments and respectful dialogue are encouraged, but content will be moderated. Please, no personal attacks, obscenity or profanity, selling of commercial products, or endorsements of political candidates or positions. We reserve the right to remove any inappropriate comments. We also cannot address individual medical concerns or provide medical advice in this forum.