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Hackensack Cemetery Sign
William Adams Grave Marker
Hackensack Cemetery Sign
William Adams Grave Marker


          This grave marker which is at Hackensack Cemetery located at
289 Hackensack Avenue Hackensack New Jersey reveals that William Adams served in the U.S. Army during World War II and died at the age of only 29. William Adams was not on the
Original Wall Unit List, but I have listed William Adams with the Original Wall Unit List for these reasons:
First being African American, he most likely would not have finished high school prior to World War II, but still have attended Hackensack Schools.
Second, the grave marker states that William Adams 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 and is after his date of birth.
I am listing him under World War II even though it does not mention the war on grave marker because he was only 29 when he passed away in 1945, which is right at end of World War II. He could have served in mid-thirties and never served during World War II, but I just don’t know.
Finally, the grave marker confirms his connection to Hackensack by being buried within its borders since passing and forevermore.

William Adams 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 Anglo-Saxon 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 12, 2018


Background Image of Recruiting Poster for Black Soldiers during World War II obtained from: