Day of Service by Electrical Workers Minority Caucus spruces up African American Greenwood Cemetery

16 brothers, sisters from two IBEW locals pitch in as part of national effort

IBEW WORK CREW taking the day of service to clean the Greenwood Cemetery are IBEW Local 1 members: (back row, from left) Courtney Freberking and Major Harper. (Second row, from left) Laura Freberking, Earnie Bradley, Shawn Levin, Michael Thomas, Business Representative Mike Newton, Carl Burk (IBEW 1439), Business Manager Frank Jacobs, Shondra Adams and James Reese; (kneeling from left) the Greenwood Cemetery caretaker, Kajuan Penton, Tiffany Jones, unknown, and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Recording Secretary Sylvester Taylor. – IBEW 1 Business Representative John Kahrhoff photo

As part of its ongoing efforts to give back to the community, 16 members from IBEW Locals 1 and 1439 – members of the St. Louis Chapter of the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus (EWMC) – spent a day cleaning up the African American Greenwood Cemetery as part of the EWMC’s National Day of Service, said Sylvester Taylor, director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection partnership, co-founder and president of the local EWMC chapter and Local 1’s recording secretary.

The effort in November was part of the group’s ongoing support for the cemetery as one of their community service projects. Every year in the late fall they spend the better part of a day clearing brush, removing dead limbs and cleaning headstones.

“A special thank you to the brothers and sisters who put in a hard day’s work for this special good deed that shows the respect, and honor for those buried there,” Taylor said.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE, members of the IBEW Electrical Workers Minority Caucus Locals 1 and 1439 spent a day of service cleaning up the historic African American Greenwood Cemetery as part of the group’s on-going public service efforts of giving back to the community. – IBEW 1 Business Representative John Kahrhoff photos

Greenwood Cemetery was organized in 1874 to serve the needs of the growing Black population of post-civil war St. Louis and St. Louis County. It was the first commercial non-sectarian cemetery for African Americans in the St Louis metropolitan area. In its history, there’s a note about “graves dug by hand and horse-drawn plow, with Clydesdale horses.”

More than 50,000 African Americans are buried within Greenwood’s 31.85 acres, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. It’s located at 6571 Saint Louis Ave., Hillsdale, Mo.

“We greatly appreciate the work of the Minority Caucus throughout the year. They are an important part of the IBEW’s overall efforts to give back to our community. We’re proud of their work and the efforts of all our Local 1 EWMC members,” said Local 1 Business Manager Frank Jacobs.




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