MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (February 19, 2021) - The Mount Pleasant Police Department is honoring the life and service of the town’s first African American police officer, Edmund Jenkins, by dedicating a plaque in the lobby of police headquarters.
Edmund Jenkins was born into slavery in 1845 in McClellanville, SC. After serving in the military, Edmund Jenkins lived with his family on King Street where he worked as farm laborer before serving the town as a policeman and town marshal from the 1890s to the 1920s. Edmund Jenkins served as the town marshal until 1927. Edmunds Jenkins died in December of 1930 and is buried in the Ocean Grove Cemetery on McCants Drive in Mount Pleasant. In 1952, a public housing complex was built in Mount Pleasant and named the Edmund Jenkins Homes to honor his service to the town.
Inspector Calabrese spoke with family members of Edmund Jenkins. His 99-year-old granddaughter, Edna Jenkins-Smith, traveled to Mount Pleasant as a child to visit and recalls her grandfather being a wonderful man who valued education and being a good citizen, values which he passed down to his family. Deborah Jenkins-Lewis, great-granddaughter of Edmund Jenkins, never had the opportunity to meet her great-grandfather, but wants to continue to honor the family history. Ms. Jenkins-Lewis sees the plaque as, “change for a legacy well deserved.” Great-granddaughter, Helen Ish-Able, has a tree in her yard that keeps Edmund Jenkins’ memory alive. The tree was planted from a pecan tree bulb brought from Edmund Jenkins home to her family home in Florida where it is still growing and producing pecans.
Edmund Jenkins was a respected and faithful citizen, his life and service to the Town of Mount Pleasant is a valuable part of our history.
Edmund Jenkins Research Project, February 2020
Town of Mount Pleasant Historical Commission