Oak Woods Cemetery was established in 1854; it covers an area of 74 hectares (183 acres) and is located at 1035 E. 67th Street in Chicago. The first burials took place in 1860. Soon after the American Civil War, between four and six thousandConfederate soldiers, prisoners who died at Camp Douglas, were buried here. These bodies had originally been buried at City Cemetery but were exhumed and reburied together in a mass grave at recently opened sections of Oak Woods, when Chicago decided to close its former cemetery and convert part of it to Lincoln Park. A monument known as the Confederate Mound was erected in their memory.
Roland Burris, the U.S. Senator appointed by Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, constructed a family tomb at 41°46′16″N 87°36′08″W / 41.77122°N 87.60215°W / 41.77122; -87.60215 in the Oak Woods cemetery, in preparation for his and his wife's eventual interment. The tomb has received considerable publicity (generally negative) since Burris' appointment by the indicted governor. The rear portion of the large stone structure resembles a triptych, forward of which are two burial vaults; the left one is engraved with Burris' name and birth date and the right vault with the name of Burris' wife. The central segment of the triptych includes a large inscription of the words "TRAIL BLAZER" along the top. The segments of the triptych also include accomplishments of Burris and his wife, both of whom are still living. These note that Burris was the first African-American to be Attorney General of Illinois, the first African-American exchange student from Southern Illinois University to the University of Hamburg, Germany, and the first non-CPA to be on the board of the Illinois CPA Society.