Home > Uncategorized > Frustrated Expectations and Thwarted Plans

Frustrated Expectations and Thwarted Plans

So, as Kate and Lillie have already explained, we suck at finding cemeteries. Or at least at finding the Smalley Anti-Slavery Cemetery. We saw several very respectable looking cemeteries on our drive along FM1460, but none that looked remotely old enough to be the cemetery we were looking for.

But we certainly found construction. My god, the construction we found! All along this back road, there was an endlessly frustrating stream of taunting orange pylons and massive, bleching machines. Progress is all well and good, but expanding to the point that an historical site can’t be found is just a bit much. It reminded me of a displaced Roman temple we saw in London. It was discovered during a construction project in the 1960s. Rather than relocating or building around the discovery, they picked up the ruins and moved them next to the building (which is hideous and no longer in use.) Did the slave cemetery meet a worse fate? It’s a bit more difficult to move a cemetery, but I hope it’s still there.

Roman ruins in the heart of The City of London

The loss of such cemeteries seems to be symptomatic of American history. We glorify and preserve what makes us look good or feel good and ignore the rest. Never mind that our presence wiped out almost an entire population (Native Americans). Never mind that we enslaved and dehumanized people for two hundred years, then denied them the rights we supposedly gave them for another hundred (African Americans). While the British and other Europeans can be as guilty of such editorial histories as we are, they don’t erase them as much as we do. All over London you can see remnants of the Blitz that devastated the city’s population. In Germany, there are monuments to the Holocaust in every major city. They acknowledge the fault, but try to presentit in the best light possible.

Anywho- to complete our inventory, we went back to the Old Georgetown Cemetery.

1 (see Lillie’s entry)

2. What’s striking about the cemetery is the marked difference in the two sides. I actually like the black side better, because it feels more like an old cemetery should. There’s much more mystery and sense of history there than in the neatly ordered and maintained white side.

3. The nameless white crosses scattered among the trees are haunting. Who were these people? Who put the crosses here? Why?

4. Earliest burial is the early 1820s.

5. Lastest burial appears to be circa 1904.

6. The Official name it the Old Georgetown Cemetery. The only signage is an historical marker by the road and another further back. None of the original indicators seem to have survived

Crosses at Old Georgetown Cemetery


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