So much Lowcountry history lies, virtually unknown, just below the surface of abandoned or ill kept African American cemeteries. But help may be on the way.
The US Senate has passed, and sent to the House of Representatives, a bill that sponsor Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) says would ·
- Direct the National Park Service to study ways to account for and preserve historic African American cemeteries and burial grounds before they are lost to time, decay, or development.
- Develop ways to provide grant opportunities and technical assistance to local partners to research, identify, survey and preserve the burial grounds.
For many African American burial sites, there is no official record or database of where these sites are located. Creating and maintaining a network of African American burial grounds will help communities preserve local history while better informing development decisions and community planning.
DIHS has worked for years to help clean up and preserve the four known cemeteries on the island. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON ISLAND CEMETERIES.
The Gullah Society is one of the groups working to rescue and preserve that history.
Joanna Gilmore, director of research and interpretation for the Gullah Society, told the Post & Courier “the potential to receive grant money could help propel the organization into a new phase of operation. To date, its work has been done on a volunteer basis, she said.
The new network project would enable the Gullah Society to create a general database, accessible by the public, that provides information on South Carolina’s many burial grounds — those known and still to be discovered and documented.
The national project also could help the Gullah Society generate educational materials for schools and train local communities how to conserve and maintain these sites, she said.”
SEE THE POST & COURIER ARTICLE HERE. (If you’re not a subscriber, you’ll hit a paywall).
One of the Gullah Society’s leading advocates on the cemetery issue was the late Dr. Ade Ofunniyin. Read a Dr. O obituary on our website blog CLICK HERE
And HERE’S A LINK to Dr O’s obituary in the Daniel Island News.
Appropriately, Dr. O is buried in Daniel Island’s Grove Cemetery.