Look for Periwinkle Patches.
April 8, 2016 10:46 AM   Subscribe

The Burial Database of Enslaved African Americans is a project of the Periwinkle Initiative to identify and document often-unmarked cemeteries where the remains of enslaved people are interred. Now "in its infancy," it will aggregate submissions nationwide. People who know of a site can submit it online - an important task given that many are threatened by development and identified by local lore and memory alone.
posted by Miko (6 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Worthy and interesting project but on mobile it took me forever to realize you need to click on the flower to find out more. As for the clock and golf tee icons, who knows. Basically one is confronted with a full screen picture and not much else.
Related: afbg
posted by Rumple at 11:48 AM on April 8, 2016


I was hoping for a Strawberry Shortcake themed post when I saw the title. Now I'm depressed.

But encouraged that someone is taking on this task! I've stumbled across many a back woods cemetery in my wanderings, unmarked and in various states of repair. Nice to know someone's working on this important heritage.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 11:53 AM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


At an event earlier this week Harvard's president, Drew Faust, along with Congressman John Lewis unveiled a plaque naming and recognizing four enslaved persons that were part of the households of Harvard presidents Benjamin Wadsworth and Edward Holyoke in the 1700s. I also recently came across this article about America's Auschwitz. Seems to me there's a bit of a turn--a very welcome one, in my opinion--towards recognizing and naming individuals that have been hidden, shielded, and forgotten.
posted by AwkwardPause at 11:54 AM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


This is a super-awesome project!! I, too, have stumbled upon some old burying grounds, including this one (now benefitting from some much-needed attention) and some on private property near my workplace. I knew to look for Periwinkle, but I thought that was an English tradition--I had no idea it's specifically tied to African American burial grounds.

Another thing I picked up in wandering and learning about 18th-19th century (and I'm sure earlier) burial grounds is that people were often buried facing east, so they could sit up and greet Jesus. One group of graves we know is from a cholera outbreak that took place in February, and those graves are facing just southeast--the direction of sunrise that time of year on this hemisphere. So if you see what could be a headstone and/or footstone oriented eastward, there's a good chance it's a grave.
posted by witchen at 12:05 PM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Seems to me there's a bit of a turn--a very welcome one, in my opinion--towards recognizing and naming individuals that have been hidden, shielded, and forgotten.

Most definitely, and it's because of a groundswell of scholar-activism over the past 5-10 years. It's really been something to see.
posted by Miko at 12:42 PM on April 8, 2016


At an event earlier this week Harvard's president, Drew Faust, along with Congressman John Lewis unveiled a plaque naming and recognizing four enslaved persons that were part of the households of Harvard presidents Benjamin Wadsworth and Edward Holyoke in the 1700s.

Well past time. Though I wish they had made a version of the sign a student group (?) put up at the site, which started, IIRC, with "THIS WAS A HOUSE OF SLAVERY."
posted by praemunire at 1:14 PM on April 8, 2016


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