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Hackensack Cemetery Sign
Robert Reavis Grave Marker
Hackensack Cemetery Sign
Robert Reavis Grave Marker


This grave marker which is at Hackensack Cemetery located at 289 Hackensack Avenue Hackensack, New Jersey
reveals that Robert Reavis served in the U.S. Army during World War I for the State of New Jersey and died at the age of exactly 69 because he died on his birthday.

Robert Reavis was not on the Original Honor Roll List which was in the Evening Record newspaper October 5, 1918,
but I have him listed with the Original Honor Roll List for these reasons:

First, being African American he most likely would not have attended school or no more than an 8th grade education at Hackensack Schools prior to World War I.

Second, the grave marker states that Robert Reavis served for New Jersey during his time in service couple that with being buried in Hackensack he either lived in Hackensack or the surrounding area which was all considered Hackensack prior to 1921 which is after his date of birth.

Finally, this confirms his connection to Hackensack by being buried within its borders since passing and forevermore.

Robert Reavis is buried in the African American section of Hackensack Cemetery. In the 1880’s a law was passed because of an incident concerning Hackensack cemetery

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making it a crime to refuse burial of African Americans in cemeteries with a fine of up to $500.00. The cemetery was officially founded in the 1890’s and the segregation within its grounds went on for many years to follow with attitudes probably changing after World War II. Grave plots having been bought before a person died in the 1950’s, and many African Americans more comfortable resting their loved ones in a more traditional area among friends and family not much has changed. Italians in Hackensack are much more highly represented in St. Joseph’s cemetery for similar reasons they really were not welcome in the more Dutch and AngloSaxon cemetery of Hackensack at the turn of the 1900th to the 20th century so they created their own cemetery through St. Joseph’s Catholic ministries right next to Hackensack Cemetery. 

Written by:
Bob Meli
August 13, 2018


Background image of African American soldiers fighting against the German Army poster obtained from: