The Past and Future of Durham’s Historic Black Burial Grounds
Wednesday at the Center welcomes the co-founders of the Durham Black Burial Grounds Collaboratory, a community-university partnership funded by the Duke Endowment and dedicated to researching, preserving, and making public the histories embodied in Durham's precarious African American cemeteries. They are experts in different fields: archaeology, public history, and cultural anthropology. In this presentation, they will describe some of the rich history of these sites, highlighting connections between the people buried there, the Duke household, and the university. Attention to these cemeteries can be considered a form of reparations for exploitation and injustice, as well as a form of "unruining" an undervalued past. The speakers will explain how Black burial grounds in Durham came to be overgrown and endangered, and how the city has become one focal point of a national movement to reclaim these spaces. Finally, they will describe their work, in partnership with descendants, activists, and their students at Duke, to document the cemeteries and tell their stories with complexity and dignity.
This public talk will feature Alicia Jiménez, Khadija McNair, Adam Rosenblatt, and Jenna Smith.