Cemeteries and Memorial Parks

Dublin Core


Cemeteries and Memorial Parks


This collection is just a fraction of the burial sites dedicated to enslaved persons, "contrabands," and freed persons. Many of these cemeteries and memorial parks have suffered greatly over the years--some have been desecrated and destroyed while others have been long ignored and fallen into disrepair. The monuments and memorials in this collection are part of local efforts to restore and recognize the importance of black life in death, including the Freedman's Cemetery Memorial in Dallas, Texas, and the African Burying Ground Memorial in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Further reading:

Seth Freed Wesler, "Black Deaths Matter," The Nation, October 15, 2015, https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/black-deaths-matter/.


Written by Renée Ater


Renée Ater

Collection Items

The Path of Thorns and Roses (Contraband and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial, Alexandria, VA)
The Path of Thorns and Roses is an 18-foot high sculpture that spirals upwards and includes six allegorial figures: Oppression (a semi-nude male figure), Struggle (a semi-nude male figure at the base of the sculpture), Sacrifice (a woman who grasps…

African Burying Ground Memorial (We Stand in Honor of Those Forgotten) (Portsmouth, NH)
The memorial is composed of a number of distinct elements. A rectangular granite stele on State Street marks the memorial’s entrance. On one side, below the engraved text that reads “African Burying Ground Memorial,” a life-size bronze figure of a…

Freedman’s Cemetery Memorial (Dallas, TX)
The memorial is located in the Freedman Cemetery in Dallas, Texas. Established in 1861, it is one of the largest Freedman's cemeteries in the country. A Texas Red granite archway marks the entrance to the memorial. Two niches, located on either side…

African Burial Ground National Monument (New York City)
The memorial sits on .35 acres and includes seven distinct design features: Wall of Remembrance, Ancestral Re-Interment Grove, Memorial Wall, The Ancestral Chamber, Circle of the Diaspora, Spiral Processional Ramp, and The Ancestral Libation…
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