The African American Cemetery

The African American Cemetery (HMFZR)

Location: Somerset, VA 22972 Orange County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 13.16', W 78° 10.366'

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"I walk in the graveyard, I walk through the graveyard
To lay this body down.
I lay in the grave and stretch out my arms;
I lay this body down."

-African American spiritual from the era of slavery, as recorded in James Weldon Johnson, the Book of American Negro Poetry

The African American Cemetery is the final resting place for some of Montpelier's enslaved community. At funerals, people could share religious values that had their origins in various African traditions. Most often, these occasions aroused mixed emotions. They signaled at once an end and a transformation of life. Burials may have been accomplished by processions through the graveyard. Bearers of the coffin would have lowered it into a grave dug on an axis, so that the eyes of the deceased faced the sunrise in the east. The living then offered music, dancing, and religious preaching to help transport the spirit "home," which for many, meant back to the African homeland. Feasting may have concluded the day and its bittersweet celebration of ultimate freedom.
Marker Number19
Placed ByMontpelier Foundation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 11:04am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 747506 N 4233930
Decimal Degrees38.21933333, -78.17276667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 13.16', W 78° 10.366'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 13' 9.60" N, 78° 10' 21.96" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 75 Race Barn Rd, Somerset VA 22972, US
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