« Previous | of | Next »

An Allegory for Life: An 18th century African-influenced cemetery landscape, Nassau, Bahamas

Black Caribbean Literature (BCL)
Turner,Grace S. R. (Author)
Publication Date:
Virginia: The College of William and Mary
African American Research Center, Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject Term:
Caribbean area, History, Blacks, Slaves, African diaspora, Nassau (Bahamas), Archaeology, Cemeteries
271 p., Uses W.E.B. Du Bois' reference to the worlds 'within and without the veil' as the narrative setting for presenting the case of an African-Bahamian urban cemetery in use from the early 18th century to the early 20th century. The author argues that people of African descent lived what Du Bois termed a 'double consciousness.' Thus, the ways in which they shaped and changed this cemetery landscape reflect the complexities of their lives. Since the material expressions of this cemetery landscape represent the cultural perspectives of the affiliated communities so changes in its maintenance constitute archaeologically visible evidence of this process. Evidence in this study includes analysis of human remains; the cultural preference for cemetery space near water; certain trees planted as a living grave site memorial; butchered animal remains as evidence of food offerings; and placement of personal dishes on top of graves.