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There was an excellent article in the New York Times by Edward Rothstein, a noted Times museum critic, about how Charleston museums are interpreting slavery.
“…Or go to Drayton Hall, a local plantation hewn out of the Lowcountry landscape by hundreds of slaves, who also made its rice fields so profitable. At a clearing in the woods near the entrance, you see an information panel and a memorial arch: this was a “burying ground,” used at least as early as the 1790s, where the plantation’s slaves buried their dead.
“The dedication of the black burial ground at Drayton Hall last October also suited a broader plan developed by the hall’s executive director, George W. McDaniel. The plantation, now owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, does not only display its stunning Palladio-style house (which is meticulously unrestored), but also interprets the plantation with special attention to its slaveholding past.”
See more images in the online photo gallery:
To read more about Drayton Hall’s African-American history and the dedication of the African-American cemetery memorial:
This page provides videos of key moments at the October 2010 Cemetery Memorial event at Drayton Hall, highlighting these speakers and participants:
Welcome: Dr. George W. McDaniel, Executive Director, Drayton Hall
Opening Prayer: Rev. James Yarsiah, St. Andrews Episcopal Mission Church
Family Welcome: Catherine Braxton, Frank B. Drayton, Jr., and Shelby Nelson
Welcome from Melissa Lindler, representing Congressman James E. Clyburn
Keynote Speaker: Lonnie G. Bunch III, Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture
Speaker: Dr. Bernard Powers, Associate Chairman, History Department, College of Charleston
Speaker: Jane Aldrich, Lowcountry Africana
Family Reflections: Annie Meyers
Speaker: Rossie Colter, The Philip Simmons Foundation
Memorial Dedication and Procession included all speakers, Drayton family members, descendants of the Bowens family and other descendants of the enslaved at Drayton Hall, staff, over 100 attendees, and:
Singers Lorraine White and Corey Furtick
And distinguished participants:
Carlie Towne, Director of the Gullah-Geechee Angel Network
“Honoring those who have come before” – a blog by Drayton Hall – includes images and links to media coverage of the event.
An article by Dwight Young, acclaimed writer and contributor to Preservation Magazine’s online Story of the Week.
Drayton Hall interpreter John Saunders offers his reflections on African-American history at Drayton Hall through the centuries
Below – As mentioned in the New York Times article, this information panel at the 18th-century African-American Cemetery at Drayton Hall helps to educate visitors on one of the oldest documented African-American cemeteries in the nation still in use: