BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Earlier this year, a woman reached out to CBS 42’s Your Voice Your Station Hotline with frustrations about George Washington Carver Memorial Gardens. She said she never received her mother’s gravestone; it’s been over a year since she passed.
The George Washington Carver Cemetery is no stranger to controversy. Over the years, CBS 42 has done several reports detailing complaints about customer service and up-keep at the cemetery. We tracked down the owners to see why issues like this one seem to keep happening.
“I can’t move on until I do this,” said Thelma Wilson as she visited her mother’s grave. “I get very depressed when I come over here and it’s not completed…And it still bothers me today.”
It’s been over a year and the grave’s headstone is still missing.
“He told me to give him at least six months; I gave him seven months,” Wilson said. “Then I started coming over, calling. He would tell me he’s working on it. He would get on the phone and call the people. I’d sit there and wait. But I never got no results.”
Wilson’s mom died in June 2022. She was buried at the George Washington Carver Cemetery next to her husband.
“She was a sweet lady, and nobody should be treated like that,” Wilson said. “Nobody’s family should be treated this way.”
Wilson said she paid for the headstone in August 2022 and despite several calls and visits to the cemetery, she said she keeps getting the run around.
“All I want to get my money’s worth, what I paid for, and get it solved so my family can come over and see where their granddaddy and grandmama are laying. That’s all I want,” Wilson said.
A place meant to bring peace and comfort is now tainted with frustration.
“I just want him to be a man and man up and do what he needs to do. All of our family is buried out here,” Joyce Young, Wilson’s sister said.
The owner, Cedric McMillian, said he did not want to go on camera, but he said labor shortages have been contributing to delays in getting materials.
McMillian also said, in Wilson’s case, there was a price dispute over her mother’s headstone and that negations took some time.
The day before our interview with Wilson, McMillian sent a picture of what he said is Wilson’s mother’s headstone. We showed that picture to Wilson during our interview; She said McMillian had not contacted her about it.
“If you got the headstone, you have not notified me to let me know we have the headstone,” Wilson said, speaking to McMillian.
This isn’t the first time people have expressed complaints about the cemetery, and despite a change in management it appears similar issues keep happening.
“I am considering not being buried out here because of that,” Young said. “But I want to be where my family is at. I mean our great-great-great-grandparents are down the hill over there. So, we are very upset and very hurt about this situation.”
On the day the story aired, Wilson was contacted. She said, at that time, the cemetery had not notified her about her mother’s headstone arriving.
McMillian, when contacted, said he no longer wanted to answer questions and said not to call back.
Wilson said if the issue is not resolved soon she plans to contact the Better Business Bureau.