MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - The Mount Pleasant Police Department honored the life and service of its first African American police officer Friday morning.
The department dedicated a plaque to Edmund Jenkins, Inspector Don Calabrese said. Because of the pandemic, the town did not hold a formal ceremony, but the plaque was installed Friday morning in the police department’s lobby.
Jenkins was born into slavery in 1845 in McClellanville. After serving in the military, he lived with his family on King Street where he worked as a farm laborer before serving the town as a policeman and town marshal from the 1890s to the 1920s.
Calabrese said Jenkins served as the town marshal until 1927.
He died on Dec. 26, 1930, and is buried in the Ocean Grove Cemetery on McCants Drive in Mount Pleasant, Calabrese said.
The Edmund Jenkins Homes public housing complex, which was built in 1952, honored his service.
Jenkins’ 99-year-old granddaughter, Edna Jenkins-Smith, traveled to Mount Pleasant as a child and told Calabrese she remembers her grandfather being a “wonderful man who valued education and being a good citizen.” She said he passed those values down to his family.
Deborah Jenkins-Lewis, his great-granddaughter, never had the chance to meet him, but wants to continue to honor the family history, describing the plaque as “change for a legacy well deserved.”
Great-granddaughter Helen Ash Ible has a tree in her yard she says keeps Jenkins’ memory alive. The tree was planted from a pecan tree bulb brought from Jenkins’ home to her family home in Florida where it is still growing and producing pecans, she says.