A Journey to Purchasing And Naming The Brown Hill Cemetery
By Sam Barber, 2015
Dr. Sam Barber wrote A Journey to Purchasing And Naming The Brown Hill Cemetery (available from the author-see below) as an initiative to prevent the loss of the African-American community’s heritage in Greenville, Pitt County, NC. With this book, he promotes fairness and justice to citizens there and other places facing similar conditions.
The Greenville Visitors and Convention Bureau lists no official African-American historical sites even though black Americans have lived there since 1771. Dr. Barber’s research—part of a personal mission to preserve the city and county’s African-American heritage—uncovered numerous instances of racial inequality fostered by local, state and governmental officials in matters concerning the lives and deaths of black citizens. Despite the African-Americans’ daily struggles for a good and equitable life after the Civil War, Dr. Barber found a sordid story of injustices and inequality endured by an entire race of people for generations.
The dead from generations past are remembered as Barber chronicles the story of racial discrimination that followed them to the grave. This is a rare chapter in American history. According to the author, a review of historic research suggests that this book is a highly unusual contribution to the cemetery literature of African-Americans.
Barber adds that while it speaks specifically to the citizens of Greenville, the policies and practices of racial injustices and inequality demonstrated by officials when African-American cemeteries are city-owned and operated can be applied anywhere in America.
“Hopefully it will motivate and inspire the Greenville African-American community as well as other communities, to take action to ensure egalitarian resources and treatment with city-owned cemeteries,” Barber says.
He cites the Black Lives Matter Movement as “eminently relevant” to the subject of his book, which is a rich and valuable source of genealogical information that also paints a blistering profile of local, state and governmental officials with their biased social, cultural, educational, political and economic practices in Greenville.
Readers with an appreciation of history, as well as those who believe in—and advocate—for civil rights will find this sober yet respectful glimpse into history to be informative in regards to both past events and remedies for present circumstances.
Without records, generations of Blacks will have lost a vast and rich historical past. Immediate attention can be devoted to mapping unmarked graves, and creating aesthetically pleasing grounds by providing historical information, retooling grave borders and headstones, replacing deteriorating vaults and broken headstones and other projects that can revitalize and sustain communities.
The book, edited by Timothy Collins of Then and Now Media, is available from the author:
Dr. Sam Barber - P.O. Box 1573 - Winterville, NC 28590-1573
Phone: 252.Seven14.4Seven39 - E-mail: primo9999 at aol.com (with a @)