GREENSBORO, N.C. — For a business to continue through several generations is impressive.
One Greensboro funeral service has outlived many generations: lasting over a century, all while breaking barriers.
“In 1871 Joseph Hargett, my great-granddaddy, and his son, my granddaddy, was the senior, he was the one making coffins,” said Bryan Hargette Greene, pointing to portraits on the wall of an office at Hargett Funeral Service in Greensboro.
It’s a wall of history, commemorating ancestors who wanted to take action.
“He thought that everyone should be treated equally,” added Nathaniel Hargett III.
That’s what shaped their family business.
“Black citizens were not able to ride in a funeral hearse. They rode in a buckboard wagon, which was just for groceries and picking up wood and those things,” said Greene, the vice president of the company.
Their great-grandfather changed that.
“It was the first one in North Carolina,” added Hargett, the president of the business. “He wanted to start a funeral home to serve families with dignity and also sympathy. So that was his main concern.”
Hargett’s mission took the family from Kinston, to Durham, and finally settled down to East Market Street.
There, the family continued to be a part of history.
“We all know about the Greensboro Four. My grandmother was very influential during those sit-in times, making sure the students got out of jail,” Hargett said.
He credits the community with their constant survival, and a commitment to help those who need it the most.
“Sometimes we were paid with vegetables. I have a ledger from my grandfather and my grandmother, where people paid them with items out of a garden and even helping with work,” Hargett said.
It’s a rich history and a legacy.
The family knows it all depends on constant support for their success.
“We’ve got to learn from the past and things that we’ve done to step out and step ahead. It’s taken 150 years just to get here,” Hargett said. “It’s developed an intertwined relationship with the community and always being able to count on the Hargett name.”
On Sunday, Jan. 25, there will be a congratulatory drive through celebration at the funeral home. It beings at 12:30 p.m. at 905 E. Market St.