The UMMAA is pleased to present Brittany Brown, assistant professor of anthropology, Bard College, who will speak on Friday, February 19, 12-1 p.m., as part of the virtual UMMAA Brown Bag Lecture Series.
Brown will discuss her research on cultural production among African Americans in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in a talk entitled “‘Sites of Memory’: Historic African American Cemeteries in Jacksonville, Florida.” Brown finds evidence from four historic African American cemeteries in Jacksonville (a historically Black town) for the rise of a vibrant African American aristocracy comprised of businesspeople and other professionals. In the early half of the twentieth century, Jacksonville’s Black elite provided their community with legal protection, healthcare, vocational training, employment opportunities, and critical services such as life insurance and burial. Pinehurst, Mount Olive, Sunset Memorial, and Memorial cemeteries were some of the few burial places for Black people living in Jacksonville during the early 1900s. Today, the local government regards these cemeteries as “abandoned and neglected” spaces. However, the sites’ material culture and interviews with contemporary African American residents suggests that these burial grounds are important heritage sites for Jacksonville’s African American community. This study finds that commemorative practices are ongoing among twenty-first century African Americans. Additionally, evidence suggests that the condition of these cemeteries reflects the social, political, and economic changes endured by Jacksonville’s African American community.
Friday, February 19 | 12:00-1:00pm EST