African American Cemeteries

While you are probably aware that African Americans in this country were subjected to segregation in many localities, you may not realize that segregation often continued after their deaths. Restrictive covenants prevented them from buying houses in “whites-only” neighborhoods, and similar legalities prevented them from being buried in “whites-only” cemeteries .

You can search for “blacks-only” cemeteries in Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE) in the following record collection:

U.S., Find a Grave Index, 1600s-Current

Watkins Slave Cemetery (Maryland.gov photo)
Watkins Slave Cemetery (Maryland.gov photo)

While you can search for specific individuals, you can also search for African American cemeteries in a particular state or locality (case does not matter):

SEARCH—DEATH—LOCATION Missouri, USA (Exact) CEMETERY african american (Exact) 1,861 hits

A thorough search will require that you also perform this search:

SEARCH—DEATH—LOCATION Florida, USA (Exact) CEMETERY negro (Exact) 118 hits

And this one:

SEARCH—DEATH—LOCATION Missouri, USA (Exact) CEMETERY colored (Exact) 712 hits

But wait, we’re not finished:

SEARCH—DEATH—LOCATION Georgia, USA (Exact) CEMETERY slave (Exact) 471 hits

And don’t forget (apostrophe doesn’t matter):

SEARCH—DEATH—LOCATION Tennessee, USA (Exact) CEMETERY freedmens (Exact) 565 hits

Search results generally include:

    Name
    Birth Date
    Birth Place
    Death Date
    Death Place
    Cemetery
    Burial/Cremation Place
    Has Bio? Y or N (on Find a Grave page)
    Link (to Find a Grave page)

Search results sometimes include:

    Father
    Mother
    Spouse
    Child

I discovered while exploring this record collection that it’s also possible to search for early black clergymen:

SEARCH--KEYWORD Rev (Exact) CEMETERY African American (Exact) 547 hits

For additional hits, you can also repeat this search with “negro” or “colored” in place of “African American”.

You can use Ancestry LE at Central Library or any of our branches.

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