Saturday, March 22, 2008

Folk Markers and African-American Cemeteries

I have begun the process of locating cemeteries for my thesis. I now have 3 cemeteries spread out across 2 counties, and a few more possible locations. My most recent search has turned up a couple of very well made folk markers. Both are made of concrete, but differ in form and decoration. So far the presence of these type of markers appears to be a characteristic of African-American cemeteries in this area.

So what is a folk marker? As I am using the term it refers to a marker made out of locally available materials, commonly concrete, by either the relatives of the deceased or a local individual who specializes in these type of markers. They can be less expensive than commercially produced quarried stone markers; however, they also allow for the expression of motifs and shapes which generally have not been available in commercial markers. Here are a couple of examples:

This is a close-up of what I am interpreting as a rose which was drawn in the wet concrete of this marker. This is on a flat, concrete vault. An identical image was drawn on the cast-concrete headstone. On both parts of this marker the lettering and imagery are well executed.

The second marker is a bit different, it is cast in the form of a cross, painted white, and decorated with reflectors. It is in a different cemetery than the first marker. Sphere: Related Content

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