Native American Tribe Finds Slave Cemetery in Little Rock

A group with Arkansas connections says an unmarked slave cemetery has been discovered in Pulaski County on its newly purchased property. The cemetery has been found on a 160-acre plot of land near the Little Rock Port Authority on Thibault Rd. that was recently bought by the Quapaw Tribe to preserve its history. "It's a very important piece of land to us. It's part of our original reservation," says business chairman John Berrey. Berrey says the site is where the group called home before being forced to move to Oklahoma in the 1800's. Read More: Native American Tribe … [Read more...]

The slaves who sued for freedom

I n New England, suits by enslaved African-Americans date back to Colonial times. The cases were frequently based on a slave’s claim of white or Native American parentage. But as revolutionary ideals took hold in the 1770s and ’80s, many enslaved plaintiffs began to mount more ambitious arguments that all people, black or white, had a “natural right” to freedom. That was the basis of a successful lawsuit involving a black man named Quock Walker, who won his freedom in 1781. The man who considered himself Walker’s owner appealed to the Supreme Judicial … [Read more...]

Understanding History: African-American Burial Traditions

Cemeteries are a treasure trove of historic information. Names, dates, relationships, professions, property can all be gleaned by studying the gravestones and death records of those who lived long ago. But what about historic African-American cemeteries? What sort of information can be found about the people who lie interred there? Often precious little. That’s because many of these cemeteries lack markers and written records can be hard to find. “A lot of African-American or minority cemeteries don’t look like others,” explains Georgette … [Read more...]

Forgotten graves at University of Virginia likely belonged to black slaves

A piece of black colonial history may have been unearthed after a hidden grave site was discovered adjacent to the University of Virginia campus. Sixty-seven unmarked graves were found during the university’s cemetery expansion project and officials say the graves probably belonged to enslaved or post-emancipated African-Americans. Benjamin Ford, the principal investigator of the archaeological survey, told The Huffington Post that so many poorly-marked graves indicates they almost certainly hold the remains of blacks. “I just can’t imagine that we have this number of white … [Read more...]

University of Kansas showcases historic black photography online

The Leon K. Hughes Photograph Collection is a chronicle of African American family and community life in Wichita, Kansas from the late 1940s through the 1970s.  During these decades, the arrival of newcomers from nearby states and the South increased the city’s African American population from 5,623 to 26,841.  Employment in the area’s burgeoning aircraft industry and the presence of the McConnell Air Force Base fostered this growth in the community’s population and network of institutions and organizations. The leading photographer of this community’s family, church and civic events was … [Read more...]

Historic slave cemetery artifacts returned to James City

When Ben A. Watford and Earl Mills recently went to Eastern Carolina University to get duplicates of some artifacts from a slave cemetery in James City, they got much more than they asked for. Watford, who is co-chair of the James City Historical Society with Mills, said college researchers offered them an entire collection of artifacts taken from the site during a 1979 archeological dig. The two men were ecstatic and have brought home about half of what Watford said is upwards of 1,000 pieces taken near the cemetery site next to a runway at Coastal Regional Airport. In addition to … [Read more...]

Passion drives effort to preserve history, search for roots

Candice McKnight all but moves mountains to help people find their roots. But it was on an imposing rock set down in a stranger’s yard in Missouri that she looked her own family’s past in the face. The president of the African-American Historical and Genealogical Society of Colorado Springs was visiting family when a cousin, who belonged to a historical society there, showed her the rock that had been a platform from which slaves were sold in the early 1800s. Intrigued, they found papers that showed that a great-great-grandmother had been sold there. But in an unusual twist, the woman … [Read more...]

Researchers to reveal lost African-American historical record

The experiences of African-Americans in the Las Vegas area during its segregationist past have generally been portrayed in depictions of iconic showroom entertainers such as Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole and Dorothy Dandridge. A more comprehensive history of the African-American community in Southern Nevada will soon be collected and made accessible to the public, thanks to a collaborative effort between the collective libraries of UNLV, Clark County and Henderson, the Nevada State Museum, the City of Las Vegas and Vegas PBS. Read More … [Read more...]

‘It gives me gooseflesh’: Remarkable find in South Side attic

It wasn’t much more than a ghost house by the time Rufus McDonald got the call. The front door of the abandoned home near 75th and Sangamon was unlocked and swinging in the wind. Drug addicts, squatters and stray animals carried away whatever they wanted. Everything that wasn’t termite-infested seemed to have been stolen. Even the copper pipes were gone. But the scavengers missed something incredible. Hidden in the attic that McDonald was contracted to clear before the home’s 2009 demolition was a trunk. Inside were the papers of Richard T. Greener, the first African American to … [Read more...]

Major find shows cruel life – and death – of slaves

As Professor Mark Horton tells me as he opens the lids, these boxes represent almost the entire sum of the physical relics of the Middle Passage. These personal possessions had been lovingly clung to by the terrified Africans after their capture, after being transferred into the hands of ruthless slave traders, and even after being squashed into the barely imaginable claustrophobic squalor of an Atlantic-bound slaver ship. But the team of archaeologists from Bristol University, led by Dr Andrew Pearson and Professor Mark Horton, spent four months excavating a unique slave cemetery on the … [Read more...]