Volunteers archive key funeral records for genealogical research on Black Chicagoans
, 2022-10-04 02:00:00,
Once a week, month after month, for a decade, the five volunteers would go to work.
Sifting through boxes at a South Side funeral home, surrounded by caskets in a side room, they sorted and organized the paper burial records of thousands and thousands of Black Chicagoans, determined to preserve those important pieces of history.
“It was spooky,” Lettie Sabbs, now 80, said of working near the caskets. “Some of them may have had someone in them; you didn’t know.”
They started in 2009. Many of those paper documents at the Charles Jackson Funeral Home were in disarray, thrown haphazardly into cardboard boxes. When the funeral home at 7350 S. Cottage Grove Ave. closed in 2012, the records eventually were moved to the Bronzeville Historical Society.
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