Cemeteries | St. Louis Public Radio

Cemeteries

Overgrown greenery almost entirely obscures a gravestone at which a giant white paper mache heart is positioned.
Provided by Jennifer Colten

When Terri Williams’ daughters brought home their Black History Month assignment from school, she noticed most of the historical figures were entertainers or athletes. 

This contrasted with the uniquely heroic lives she saw represented by the figures interred at Washington Park Cemetery — people like Ira Cooper, the first black police lieutenant in St. Louis, George L. Vaughn, the attorney who fought for J.D. Shelley in the Shelley vs. Kraemer court case that eliminated courts’ abilities to enforce housing segregation.

William’s learned about such figures while researching the cemetery for the new exhibit “Higher Ground: Honoring Washington Park Cemetery Its People and Place,” which opens at The Sheldon this weekend.

A statue of Jesus and a lake greet visitors to  Lake Charles Park Cemetery on St. Charles Rock Road.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A few years ago, Betty Zweifel Eberley started tracing her family's history.

"I can't go back any further than 1816, my dad's great-grandfather," she told St. Louis Public Radio. "They came from Germany. I don't have a lot of stories to tell, but I have a lot of the pertinent information."