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‘Sites of Memory’: Historic African American Cemeteries in Jacksonville, Florida

Dr. Brittany Brown, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Bard College
Friday, February 19, 2021
12:00-1:00 PM
Few anthropologists have endeavored to investigate the African American experience in Jacksonville, Florida beyond slavery; despite the call to push the field beyond the antebellum era. Through four historic African American cemeteries, this study explores cultural production among African Americans in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Shortly after emancipation, Jacksonville (a historically Black town), gave birth to a vibrant African American aristocracy comprised of businesspeople and other professionals. In the early half of the twentieth century, Jacksonville’s Black elite provided their community with legal protection, healthcare, vocational training, employment opportunities, and critical services such as life insurance and burial. Pinehurst, Mount Olive, Sunset Memorial, and Memorial cemeteries were some of the few burial places for Black people living in Jacksonville during the early 1900s. Today, the local government regards these cemeteries as ‘abandoned and neglected’ spaces. However, the sites’ material culture and interviews with contemporary African American residents suggests that these burial grounds are important heritage sites for Jacksonville’s African American community. This study finds that commemorative practices are ongoing among twenty-first century African Americans. Additionally, evidence suggests that the condition of these cemeteries reflects the social, political, and economic changes endured by Jacksonville’s African American community.

NEW Webinar link
NEW Passcode 009801
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Link:
Event Password: 009801
Event Type: Livestream / Virtual
Tags: Anthropology, Archaeology
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, Department of Anthropology