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Separated by Death and Color: The African American Cemetery of New Philadelphia, Illinois

Abstract

Residents of New Philadelphia utilized two cemeteries, one which served primarily African American families, and one which served mostly European Americans. Details of grave markers and material culture remains in the cemetery that served African American residents of the town, including members of the McWorter family, were recorded, researched, and analyzed. This study reveals connections between several material items recorded in that cemetery, and the continuing development of particular commemoration traditions related to West African cultures. Broken vessels and animal bones distributed on grave sites, and trees growing in and around the cemetery in a seemingly random fashion, may appear to a casual observer as evidence of a graveyard unkempt. In fact, such placements were often intentional, and involved particular spiritual and symbolic meanings.

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Correspondence to Charlotte King.

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King, C. Separated by Death and Color: The African American Cemetery of New Philadelphia, Illinois. Hist Arch 44, 125–137 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03376787

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