Searching for Gravestones of African Americans in Western Massachusetts
Paperback, 180 pp., with photographs of most of the gravestones discussed in the text, and a series of appendices with statistical data pertaining to the African American population of all the cities and towns in western Massachusetts, c. 1750-1900.
From census records, vital records, and other archival sources, we know that people of African descent have resided in most of the 101 cities and towns in western Massachusetts, at one time or another, during the course of the past four centuries. Who were they? What became of them? Where are their gravesites? The more than one hundred gravestones documented in this book commemorate a tiny fraction of the thousands who lived and died here.
Bob Drinkwater, is an historical archaeologist with a M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. For much of the past fifty years he has been studying, photographing and occasionally writing articles about eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century gravestones in western Massachusetts, and about some of the people who made them. During the past decade he has also been doing research on the gravestones and gravesites of some of the people who have been under-represented in the New England gravestone studies literature: African Americans, Native Americans, and European immigrants who settled in western Massachusetts during and following the industrial revolution.