Major online archives of accessible images have become regular news out of museums, and part of the reason is stories like this: elementary school kids in the South Bronx have used a photograph from one of those archives to bring about historic recognition for a long-forgotten slave burial ground.
What happens when you die? Well, in a literal way, what happens to everyone else. You’re likely to have a traditional, costly, funeral, and then a small slot of land in a quiet sprawl of cemetery will be yours.
MEMPHIS — Secreted in a cemetery in Memphis is a meditative work of 1930s folk art, a man-made cave created from five tons of quartz crystal and a unique process of turning concrete to wood.
As a last final statement, artists’ tombstones don’t disappoint. From the wildly eccentric to those that incorporate their own creations, the graves of artists are a fascinating reflection of their work.
It took two centuries for the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan to be remembered, when 18th century bones were found interred in a forgotten cemetery beneath the construction of a new high dollar federal development in 1991. While that long-overlooked cemetery is now remembered with a museum and monument, much less has been done to commemorate New York City’s Second African Burial Ground, and the dead deserve better.
For the amount of time that people have been dying, which is quite long really, our designs for death haven’t changed as much as our designs for everything else.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Military cemeteries seem incredibly uniform with the simple headstones showing little more than rank, name, the dates of life, and a symbol of religion. Yet there are still some hidden messages in the stones. This is especially true in a place like Fort Sill, where Buffalo Soldiers, American Indian POWs, and Army soldiers going back to the 19th century are buried.
New York City’s population of the dead, like its living souls, has mostly relocated to the outer boroughs due the overcrowding and high real estate prices of Manhattan. Many of the island’s cemeteries were exhumed (although the bodies were not necessarily all collected, resulting in some skeletons lingering in the ground) during the past 150 years and reinterred in these new cemeteries, but there remain a few burial grounds embedded in the urban landscape of Manhattan, from gated lots so small as to be unnoticed, like First Shearith Israel Graveyard, the only surviving 17th century structure in Manhattan, to Potter’s Fields that have since become parks, including Washington Square Park and Bryant Park. The borough’s remaining active cemetery is Trinity Cemetery in Washington Heights, which, with Trinity and St. Paul’s churchyards in Lower Manhattan, is part of the Episcopal Parish of Trinity Church burial grounds, a group of three cemeteries that maintains a historic and artistic presence for memorial history in the city.