An early 20th century headstone lays turned over in an old African American cemetery located at the entrance of Frankie Allen Park, pictured Friday, Sept. 18, 2009, in Atlanta. Elon Osby is suing to save the cemetery from a developer seeking to move the gravesites to turn a profit. (AP Photo/John Amis)ASSOCIATED PRESS

When new construction projects break ground across the United States, they regularly encounter archaeological materials. Those materials can represent the last surviving trace of the lives lived by the people who made them; and all too often, those materials turn out to be from cemeteries and burial grounds used by segregated and enslaved African American communities. These cemeteries typically went undocumented on local and state government maps and graves were often only marked ephemerally, thus making these spaces all but invisible in the present day.

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In just the past year, construction projects and archaeological surveys have encountered numerous examples of undocumented African American burial grounds across the country. Archaeological testing encountered the remains of a 19th century African American burial ground in Philadelphia; construction crews in Fort Bend County, Texas, discovered nearly 100 unmarked graves of African American prison inmates believed to have been forced to work in sugar fields long after emancipation was declared; and, archaeologists working for the Maryland Department of Transportation uncovered a previously unknown slave cemetery in Crownsville, Maryland.

These are just a handful examples of the many times in which the lives and eternal resting places of African Americans were “lost” to written history. The stories of their lives, however, have not been lost for good. With dedicated effort, archaeological and archival research can help to reclaim the past and fill in the gaps left in our history books.

Today new legislation was proposed in Congress that could bring some protection to these burial grounds and potentially lay the foundation to reclaim the missing pieces of our nation’s past. Congressman A. Donald McEachin, representing Virginia’s Fourth District, and Congresswoman Alma Adams, representing North Carolina’s Twelfth District, introduced legislation that would amend title 54 of the United States Code in order to establish the African American Burial Grounds Network as part of the National Park Service.

If the bill should pass, the network would create a nationwide database of historic African American burial grounds, provide technical assistance to record and evaluate these spaces, establish educational materials for local community members, and make grants available for further research at sites within the network. Through these measures the bill is intended to “help communities identify and record burial grounds and preserve local history while better informing development decisions and community planning.”

The legislation was developed in association with the Society for Historical Archaeology and has received widespread support from historic preservation and cultural resource organizations, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Coalition for American Heritage, and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

Ultimately, participation in this bill would be voluntary and graveyards will only be registered with the consent of the property owners. As result, the African American Burial Grounds Network will highlight and raise awareness of at-risk cultural heritage, but it may not be able to protect these spaces from further damage. While we wait to learn the fate of the bill, readers interested in learning what they can do to help protect unmarked cemeteries can check out The Society for Historical Archaeology’s Abandoned Burial Grounds resource page which presents information about how to identify burial grounds and the State laws that govern them. The preservation of the nation’s past is in our hands.

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An early20 th century headstone lays turned over in an old African American cemetery situated at the entryway of Frankie Allen Park, imagined Friday, Sept. 18, 2009, in Atlanta. Elon Osby is taking legal action against to conserve the cemetery from a designer looking for to move the gravesites to make a profit. (AP Photo/John Amis) ASSOCIATED PRESS

When brand-new building and construction tasks begin throughout the United States, they frequently come across historical products. Those products can represent the last enduring trace of the lives lived by individuals who made them; and all frequently, those products end up being from cemeteries and burial premises utilized by segregated and oppressed African American neighborhoods. These cemeteries generally went undocumented on regional and state federal government maps and tombs were frequently just significant ephemerally, therefore making these areas all however unnoticeable in today day.

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In simply the previous year, building and construction tasks and historical studies have actually come across various examples of undocumented African American burial premises throughout the nation. Historical screening come across the remains of a 19 th century African American burial ground in Philadelphia; building and construction teams in Fort Bend County, Texas, found almost 100 unmarked tombs of African American jail prisoners thought to have actually been required to operate in sugar fields long after emancipation was stated; and, archaeologists working for the Maryland Department of Transport exposed a formerly unidentified servant cemetery in Crownsville, Maryland.

These are simply a handful examples of the lots of times in which the lives and everlasting resting locations of African Americans were “lost” to composed history. The stories of their lives, nevertheless, have actually not been lost for great. With committed effort, historical and archival research study can assist to recover the past and fill in the spaces left in our history books.

(************ )Today brand-new legislation was proposed in Congress that might bring some defense to these burial premises and possibly lay the structure to recover the missing out on pieces of our country’s past. Congressman A. Donald McEachin, representing Virginia’s 4th District, and Congresswoman Alma Adams, representing North Carolina’s Twelfth District, presented legislation that would modify title 54 of the United States Code in order to develop the African American Burial Premises Network as part of the National forest Service.

If the costs must pass, the network would produce an across the country database of historical African American burial premises, offer technical help to record and examine these areas, develop instructional products for regional neighborhood members, and make grants offered for more research study at websites within the network. Through these steps the costs is meant to “assist neighborhoods determine and tape-record burial premises and protect regional history while much better notifying advancement choices and neighborhood preparation.”

(***** )(************ )The legislation was established in association with the Society for Historic Archaeology and has actually gotten extensive assistance from historical conservation and cultural resource companies, consisting of the National Trust for Historic Conservation, the Union for American Heritage, and the Association for the Research Study of African American Life and History.

Eventually, involvement in this costs would be voluntary and graveyards will just be signed up with the authorization of the homeowner. As outcome, the African American Burial Premises Network will highlight and raise awareness of at-risk cultural heritage, however it might not have the ability to secure these areas from more damage. While we wait to find out the fate of the costs, readers thinking about discovering what they can do to assist secure unmarked cemeteries can take a look at The Society for Historic Archaeology’s Deserted Burial Premises resource page which provides details about how to determine burial premises and the State laws that govern them. The conservation of the country’s past remains in our hands.

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274261603376″ >

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An early 20 th century headstone lays turned over in an old African American cemetery situated at the entryway of Frankie Allen Park, imagined Friday, Sept. 18, 2009, in Atlanta. Elon Osby is taking legal action against to conserve the cemetery from a designer looking for to move the gravesites to make a profit. (AP Photo/John Amis) ASSOCIATED PRESS

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When brand-new building and construction tasks begin throughout the United States, they frequently come across historical products. Those products can represent the last enduring trace of the lives lived by individuals who made them; and all frequently, those products end up being from cemeteries and burial premises utilized by segregated and oppressed African American neighborhoods. These cemeteries generally went undocumented on regional and state federal government maps and tombs were frequently just significant ephemerally, therefore making these areas all however unnoticeable in today day.

. SHORT ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

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In simply the previous year, building and construction tasks and historical studies have actually come across various examples of undocumented African American burial premises throughout the nation. Historical screening come across the remains of a 19 th century African American burial ground in Philadelphia; building and construction teams in Fort Bend County, Texas, found almost 100 unmarked tombs of African American jail prisoners thought to have actually been required to operate in sugar fields long after emancipation was stated; and, archaeologists working for the Maryland Department of Transport exposed a formerly unidentified servant cemetery in Crownsville, Maryland.

These are simply a handful examples of the lots of times in which the lives and everlasting resting locations of African Americans were “lost” to composed history. The stories of their lives, nevertheless, have actually not been lost for great. With committed effort, historical and archival research study can assist to recover the past and fill in the spaces left in our history books.

Today brand-new legislation was proposed in Congress that might bring some defense to these burial premises and possibly lay the structure to recover the missing out on pieces of our country’s past. Congressman A. Donald McEachin, representing Virginia’s 4th District, and Congresswoman Alma Adams, representing North Carolina’s Twelfth District, presented legislation that would modify title 54 of the United States Code in order to develop the African American Burial Premises Network as part of the National forest Service.

If the costs must pass, the network would produce an across the country database of historical African American burial premises, offer technical help to record and examine these areas, develop instructional products for regional neighborhood members, and make grants offered for more research study at websites within the network. Through these steps the costs is meant to “assist neighborhoods determine and tape-record burial premises and protect regional history while much better notifying advancement choices and neighborhood preparation.”

The legislation was established in association with the Society for Historic Archaeology and has actually gotten extensive assistance from historical conservation and cultural resource companies, consisting of the National Trust for Historic Conservation, the Union for American Heritage, and the Association for the Research Study of African American Life and History.

Eventually, involvement in this costs would be voluntary and graveyards will just be signed up with the authorization of the homeowner. As outcome, the African American Burial Premises Network will highlight and raise awareness of at-risk cultural heritage, however it might not have the ability to secure these areas from more damage. While we wait to find out the fate of the costs, readers thinking about discovering what they can do to assist secure unmarked cemeteries can take a look at The Society for Historic Archaeology’s Deserted Burial Premises resource page which provides details about how to determine burial premises and the State laws that govern them. The conservation of the country’s past remains in our hands.

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