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The Black Cemetery Network

Do you have enslaved ancestors? Do you have a passion for cemeteries, their identification, and their ongoing preservation? Then, you may be interested in learning about a wonderful national cemetery network! As we know, cemeteries can be a great resource for genealogical research.

Recently, NPR featured an article about a partnership between neighbors who were committed to honoring those who had been enslaved and later buried in an unmarked area of their subdivision. In this article, they also mentioned the Black Cemetery Network (BCN), which “was founded in response to the national call to action to raise awareness about the issue of erasure and silencing of black cemeteries throughout the U.S.” Furthermore, “These cemeteries contain stories about people, place, and families which are often missing from the larger public narrative.” To attempt to rectify this reality, the BCN “connects living records of forgotten histories through research, advocacy, and collaboration.” To learn more about them, check out their Who We Are page.

So far, the BCN has identified 148 black cemeteries throughout the United States. Their site contains a map where you can view the locations. They also have an Interactive Site Gallery which includes photos, powerful quotes, and relevant links about black history. You can also learn more through their Get Educated page.

Currently, only two Illinois sites have been identified. If you know about other black cemeteries nearby, you can join the network and submit information about the burial site.

On a related note, you can also find black cemeteries through Find A Grave and BillionGraves. Using keywords like black and enslaved in the cemetery search option can be helpful for locating these.

Finally, Black Life in America, a database available with your library card, has additional great articles about black cemeteries throughout the United States, from 1780 to today. Explore this excellent resource when you have time!

Image of Cemetery Headstones in Tall Green Grass

Categories: Genealogy

Tags: Genealogy

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