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Love Cemetery : Unburying the Secret History of Slaves - China Galland

Love Cemetery

Unburying the Secret History of Slaves

Paperback Published: 10th June 2008
ISBN: 9780060859558
Number Of Pages: 288

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By the eve of the Civil War, there were four million slaves in North America, and Harrison County was the largest slave-owning county in Texas. So when China Galland returned to research her family history there, it should not have surprised her to learn of unmarked cemeteries for slaves. "My daddy never let anybody plow this end of the field," a local matron told a startled Galland during a visit to her antebellum mansion. "The slaves are buried there." Galland's subsequent effort to help restore just one of these cemeteries--Love Cemetery--unearths a quintessential American story of prejudice, land theft, and environmental destruction, uncovering racial wounds that are slow to heal.

Galland gathers an interracial group of local religious leaders and laypeople to work on restoring Love Cemetery, securing community access to it, and rededicating it to the memories of those buried there. In her attempt to help reconsecrate Love Cemetery, Galland unearths the ghosts of slavery that still haunt us today. Research into county historical records and interviews with local residents uncover two versions of history--one black, one white. Galland unpacks these tangled narratives to reveal a history of shame--of slavery and lynching, Jim Crow laws and land takings (the theft of land from African-Americans), and ongoing exploitation of the land surrounding the cemetery by oil and gas drilling. With dread she even discovers how her own ancestors benefited from the racial imbalance.

She also encounters some remarkable, inspiring characters in local history. Surprisingly, the original deed for the cemetery's land was granted not by a white plantation owner, but by Della Love Walker, the niece of the famous African-American cowboy Deadwood Dick. Through another member of the Love Cemetery committee, Galland discovers a connection to Marshall's native son, James L. Farmer, a founder of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and organizer of the 1961 Freedom Riders. In researching local history, Galland also learns of the Colored Farmers' Alliance, a statewide group formed in the 19th century that took up issues ranging from low wages paid to cotton pickers to emigration to Liberia.

By telling this one story of ultimate interracial and intergenerational cooperation, Galland provides a model of the kind of communal remembering and reconciliation that can begin to heal the deep racial scars of an entire nation.

The riveting story of a remarkable effort . . . when done, you will have discovered the healing power of Love Cemetery.--Bill Moyers
"A moving and inspiring account of race and history in a small town."--Booklist

Prologuep. 1
Getting into Love Cemeteryp. 9
How We Got to Lovep. 27
The First Cleanup of Love Cemeteryp. 49
Borderlands, Badlands, and the Neutral Groundp. 69
"Guide Me Over"p. 105
The Reconsecration of Love Cemeteryp. 135
"You Got to Stay on Board"p. 151
Shilohp. 187
Underneath the Surfacep. 205
Funeral Home Records of Burialsp. 231
Love Cemetery Burial Map and Listp. 232
Epiloguep. 235
Acknowledgmentsp. 243
Notesp. 249
Bibliographyp. 261
Resourcesp. 265
Creditsp. 275
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780060859558
ISBN-10: 0060859555
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 10th June 2008
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.2 x 13.6  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.32