When Greenwood’s owners went bankrupt, they abandoned the grounds, leaving the cemetery marred by exposed bones, sunken graves and toppled tombstones. The city took over Greenwood in the 1990’s, sponsoring several cleanups and paving a road there.
I have tried to research the history about this cemetery but have only discovered that it is the oldest African-American cemetery either in AL or in Birmingham. There isn’t much information available on-line. I have read good and bad about this cemetery. However when I visited in July of 2013, expecting the worst, the grass was cut and landscaping neat. It was clean and I didn’t see trash about. It appeared that the city is doing their best to maintain perpetual care. I’ve seen much worse.
What makes this cemetery special, is that there are three of the 16th Street Baptist Church murdered victims buried there. Without an office to ask for help, I was luck that after walking around for a while I was able to locate their graves.
It was thirty years before Addie’s sisters could bear to visit her grave, and when they saw its neglected state, they immediately arranged to have Addie Mae moved to another, better maintained cemetery. However, workers who opened the grave recoiled in shock: It was empty devoid of casket and corpse. No one can know with certainty who took the body or why.