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African American Cemeteries:" For All Those Who Were Not Forgotten"

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Date Issued:
2016
Abstract:
This study explores the ideas behind the separation of ancestry groups after death. With the movement of African peoples to the “New World” came the loss of identity; an identity the African American community struggled to rebuild through years of segregation and eventual integration. Stripping enslaved Africans of their cultural traditions and funerary practice forced them to create new customs after the abolishment of slavery in small rural towns. Jim Crow laws halted the expansion of the African diaspora in the United States even further with the sanctions on movement, congregation, and political and economic establishment. From this came the creation of many black owned businesses including funeral homes and the institution of the black church. With the dismantling of the Jim Crow laws and the movement of African Americans to larger urban areas came the abandonment of whole townships along with its schools, churches, and cemeteries. This research presents the GIS database I created in the fall of 2012 that mapped 57 African American cemeteries throughout Florida. My GIS research sprang from forensic anthropology casework I conducted with Dr. Heather Walsh-Haney which included a case of wrongful cremation and improper burial practices within the Greenwood Cemetery in Jacksonville. The crime scene, a known African American cemetery, and its owner, Mr. Samuel Rogers, came under scrutiny in 1990 after a reporter and law enforcement found illegal burning piles on the property consisting of human skeletal material. This case fueled the mapping project and I researched the cemetery locations in correlation with Florida Census Block Group data that included demographic and socioeconomic data of African Americans populations surrounding the Florida cemetery locations. While Greenwood cemetery provided a platform for the bigger discussion of ancestry and death in Florida, I also conducted a forensic anthropological analysis of the skeletal material recovered from the cemetery which consisted of more females (n=9, nonmetric assessment; n=14, metric assessment) than males (n=8, nonmetric assessment; n=10 metric assessment), two individuals under the age of 18 years, and a population showing signs of osteoarthritis (21%), periostitis, and one case of possible syphilis. Within Florida there are several statutes (§497.284; §497.262; §497.266; §497.285 6a) focus upon protecting interred individuals and regulating cemetery operations. . This research found that Florida Statute 497.285 section 6a has not been followed. Therefore, in order to ensure the continuation and preservation of these cemeteries I propose methods that if implemented should begin the process of historical preservation. Many of the cemeteries (i.e., Turner Cemetery, Evergreen Cemetery) I documented cannot be found on present day road maps and some of those only exist due to oral tradition. As such, this important research serves as written record of Florida’s African American cemeteries as part of my effort to stop the disappearance of African American traditions and cultural identity on a larger scale.
Title: African American Cemeteries:" For All Those Who Were Not Forgotten".
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Name(s): Wade, Samantha
Type of Resource: text
Issuance: single unit
Date Issued: 2016
Extent: 67 pgs.
Language(s): English
Abstract: This study explores the ideas behind the separation of ancestry groups after death. With the movement of African peoples to the “New World” came the loss of identity; an identity the African American community struggled to rebuild through years of segregation and eventual integration. Stripping enslaved Africans of their cultural traditions and funerary practice forced them to create new customs after the abolishment of slavery in small rural towns. Jim Crow laws halted the expansion of the African diaspora in the United States even further with the sanctions on movement, congregation, and political and economic establishment. From this came the creation of many black owned businesses including funeral homes and the institution of the black church. With the dismantling of the Jim Crow laws and the movement of African Americans to larger urban areas came the abandonment of whole townships along with its schools, churches, and cemeteries. This research presents the GIS database I created in the fall of 2012 that mapped 57 African American cemeteries throughout Florida. My GIS research sprang from forensic anthropology casework I conducted with Dr. Heather Walsh-Haney which included a case of wrongful cremation and improper burial practices within the Greenwood Cemetery in Jacksonville. The crime scene, a known African American cemetery, and its owner, Mr. Samuel Rogers, came under scrutiny in 1990 after a reporter and law enforcement found illegal burning piles on the property consisting of human skeletal material. This case fueled the mapping project and I researched the cemetery locations in correlation with Florida Census Block Group data that included demographic and socioeconomic data of African Americans populations surrounding the Florida cemetery locations. While Greenwood cemetery provided a platform for the bigger discussion of ancestry and death in Florida, I also conducted a forensic anthropological analysis of the skeletal material recovered from the cemetery which consisted of more females (n=9, nonmetric assessment; n=14, metric assessment) than males (n=8, nonmetric assessment; n=10 metric assessment), two individuals under the age of 18 years, and a population showing signs of osteoarthritis (21%), periostitis, and one case of possible syphilis. Within Florida there are several statutes (§497.284; §497.262; §497.266; §497.285 6a) focus upon protecting interred individuals and regulating cemetery operations. . This research found that Florida Statute 497.285 section 6a has not been followed. Therefore, in order to ensure the continuation and preservation of these cemeteries I propose methods that if implemented should begin the process of historical preservation. Many of the cemeteries (i.e., Turner Cemetery, Evergreen Cemetery) I documented cannot be found on present day road maps and some of those only exist due to oral tradition. As such, this important research serves as written record of Florida’s African American cemeteries as part of my effort to stop the disappearance of African American traditions and cultural identity on a larger scale.
Identifier: Wade_fgcu_1743_10146 (IID)
Note(s): Degree Awarded: Master of Science
Subject(s): African American
Ancestry
Cemetery
Diaspora
Forensic Anthropology
GIS
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fgcu/fd/Wade_fgcu_1743_10146
Use and Reproduction: All rights reserved.
Owner Institution: FGCU