A senior at Fordham University in New York and a group of scholars and advisors have launched the Burial Database Project of Enslaved African Americans. Anybody with information on burial grounds of people who spent at least a portion of their lives as slaves can enter it into the site for review.
It’s now a simple online form, said Lynn Rainville, an anthropology professor at Sweet Briar College and one of the project’s advisors. Sandra Arnold, the student who came up with the idea, will review the information submitted and use it to create the database, said Rainville, who has created a slave burial ground database for central Virginia.
Michael Trinkley, director of the Columbia-based Chicora Foundation, an archeological and historic research and preservation organization, said identifying slave burial grounds isn’t easy. People often refer to older African American cemeteries as slave cemeteries, but enslaved people may not be buried in them.
Slaves were buried without markers, he said, so their burial grounds “made very little permanent impact on the landscape.”
“The heart of what we’re trying to do,” Arnold said, “is to remember a whole population of people who deserve to be memorialized.”
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