History of African-American Cemeteries

History of African-American Cemeteries

It might seem that a good place to begin our exploration of African-American cemeteries is in Africa. Understanding how African groups buried their dead might help us better understand the early development of African-American cemeteries here in the Southeast.This is, unfortunately, much more difficult than you might imagine. Africa is a large continent with many different cultural groups. Many are poorly understood. The 10 to 20 million African-Americans forcefully transported as slaves to the shores of the United States came from a number of different cultures. Further complicating this approach is the interaction of different religious beliefs ...

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is even more difficult to discover the religious beliefs of African-American slaves. Planters were rarely interested and often took steps to curb, or at least carefully monitor, the religious training and activities of their slaves. Very few planter diaries recount the events surrounding slave burials.Yet we do know that these African-American slaves died by the thousands. One study, for example, found that the mortality rate of black children on the South Carolina and Georgia coastal rice plantations was astonishingly high - nearly 90% of all children died before they reached the age of 16 years. Even on more interior cotton plantations it is likely that nearly one out of every three slave children died before adulthood. Death was certainly a way of life for African-American slaves and they had ample opportunities to make the trip from slave settlement to cemetery for their friends and family.Thomas Chaplin, a Sea Island cotton planter on St. Helena Island in Beaufort ...

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the services at the grave.
Yet another slave burial, on Georgia's Butler Island, was described by Frances Anne Kemble in early 1839:
Yesterday evening the burial of the poor man Shadrack took place.... just as the twilight was thickening into darkness I went with Mr. [Butler] to the cottage of one of the slaves ... who was to perform the burial service. The coffin was laid on trestles in front of the cooper's cottage, and a large assemblage of the people had gathered round, many of the men carrying pine-wood torches .... the coffin being taken up, proceeded to the people's burial ground.... When the coffin was lowered the grave was found to be partially filled with water - ...

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History of African-American Cemeteries. (2012, April 13). Retrieved May 24, 2018, from http://www.essayworld.com/essays/History-of-African-American-Cemeteries/100688
"History of African-American Cemeteries." Essayworld.com. Essayworld.com, 13 Apr. 2012. Web. 24 May. 2018. <http://www.essayworld.com/essays/History-of-African-American-Cemeteries/100688>
"History of African-American Cemeteries." Essayworld.com. April 13, 2012. Accessed May 24, 2018. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/History-of-African-American-Cemeteries/100688.
"History of African-American Cemeteries." Essayworld.com. April 13, 2012. Accessed May 24, 2018. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/History-of-African-American-Cemeteries/100688.
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Added: 4/13/2012 05:41:05 PM
Submitted By: 1805dom
Category: African Studies
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1984
Pages: 8

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