Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Everywhere people have lived, people have died, and had their remains cared for. Cemeteries function as outdoor museums, teaching us about the lives before us. Burials contain clues to the human past including settlement, subsistence, trade, and religious belief. The human remains in a burial tell only one part of the story. For all intentional burials, at least one person, if not many,were present to bury the deceased. These special places are a glimpse into the life of the individuals who settled and influenced our communities, and reflect the cultural practices and ways we care for others. Many rural cemeteries are all that remains of once thriving settlements and the hopes and dreams of these pioneers. The African Methodist Episcopal Cemetery in Hobe Sound, Florida, is a small desolate and abandoned burial ground. The area is extremely neglected and overgrown. Once the site of a church that burned down a number of years ago, possibly by vandals, the cemetery is now the depository of unwanted refuse and a playground for neighborhood trail bike riders. The few memorial stones are hard to locate, in poor condition, and some unreadable. Like other historic black cemeteries, headstones are rough cut stone with crude cuttings for the names and dates of the deceased. As is the custom, there are many exposed burial vault lids here.