CNN International recently put up a great article on the "invisible dead" buried in African-American cemeteries in the South during the era of slavery and Reconstruction.
A large, flat rock marks the grave of Lewis Dickson. (Courtesy CNN)
The problems of preservation are ones familiar to genealogists: little documentation, makeshift or deteriorated markers, and lack of funding to maintain burial sites.
One of the people quoted is Michael Trinkley, Executive Director of the Chicora Foundation, an organization I posted about recently:
"The problem with preserving these types of sites is that African-American cemeteries are hard to find," Trinkley says. "You can think of the people buried there as the invisible dead. And not knowing where they are, or how many there are, makes them susceptible to loss."
Of African-America burial sites in South Carolina, Trinkley says, "The areas that were used for burial grounds," Trinkley explained, "those areas were close to water. They were considered waste areas, places where burying slaves wasn't a significant loss to the planter. Those areas today are among the most sought-after for real estate."
Read the entire CNN article here.
Have you been able to find ancestors buried outside traditional cemeteries? I'd love to hear your stories.