Thursday, November 10, 2011

Slave Cemetery Found In Florida?



It's a well-known fact that many slaves in the Deep South were buried without fanfare, often without a marker or ceremony to mark their passing. If archaeologists are correct, though, slaves and their descendants may finally get the acknowledgement and closure they deserve after what is suspected to be a slave cemetery was uncovered on the Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville, Florida.

The 19th-century cemetery, long buried on the old cotton plantation, was announced by archaeologists Thursday. Six gravesites were discovered last year, but the announcement was delayed to conduct further research and contact possible descendants.

"The word emotional almost seems not powerful enough," said Johnetta Cole, director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art , former president of Spelman and Bennett Colleges and a descendant of the Kingsley family. "I wept. This is not ordinary; this is not an everyday experience."

The Associated Press reports: A team led by James Davidson, a University of Florida anthropologist, worked with just two vague century-old leads to find the site, which was described as being adjacent to a giant oak tree. Once Davidson found the graves, a smattering of clues helped determine they were, in fact, apparently those of slaves.

Kingsley Plantation was owned by Zephaniah Kingsley. In an twist not often found in  African-American history, Kingsley, a white man, married an African princess from Senegal, Anta Majigeen, later known as Anna Kingsley in 1814. Kingsley brought his future wife as slave, later freeing her and entrusting her with property and her own slaves.

1 comment:

Albertak said...

This is so so heart wrenching I too am without words to describe what I am feeling right now. Wouldn't it be grand for more of our ancestral slaves burial sites to be discovered so they may be given their rightful, respectful burial?
I applaud this discovery!