Separate and Sometimes Equal: African Burials in Colonial Newport

Cemeteries are largely seen as final resting places – an end, but for those interested in historical and genealogical research, cemeteries can provide a wealth of information regarding people, places and events of the past.

Tobe Brightman (died 1721) Click photo for more information

Tobe Brightman (died 1721)
Click photo for more information

Here in Newport, Rhode Island we have within the Common Burying Ground, one of America’s earliest public cemeteries, a section that dates back to at least 1705 that includes the final resting place of Colonial Era enslaved and free Africans. Over the years, historians have described the one-acre area, which the African American community would later call “God’s Little Acre” as the segregated section of a public cemetery reserved for non-whites. This logical conclusion arises from the many examples of historic “Negro” burial grounds throughout early America that were almost always sited far apart from the final resting places of the white community. Continue reading

Richmond After The War

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Harriet Jacobs

Harriet Jacobs was born into slavery in North Carolina. Her single work, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” published in 1861 under the pseudonym Linda Brent, and edited by famed Abolitionist Lydia Maria Child, was one of the first autobiographical narratives about the struggle for freedom by an African American woman. Today, her book is compared with the “Diary of Anne Frank” as being two of the most important autobiographies depicting the resiliency of young women during times of great struggle.  During the years leading up to the Civil War, she became an abolitionist and national speaker to end slavery. Continue reading