Where are the slaves buried?

Thousands of slaves died during the slave-holding years in Rhode Island. Deacon Ricky wondered where they were all buried since most cemeteries don’t identify slave graves. She knew that Newport’s Common Burial was one of the few cemeteries that had a clearly defined area where slaves were buried. But most slaves were buried in unmarked graves in churchyards, backyards of their owner’s homes (sometimes along side of their owners) or in fields, now far from the eye of the public. She set off to see what she could learn.

The Cemetery Project is working with Scout groups and other volunteers to find and map slave graves. In some cases this includes cleaning up the area; in other cases it is helping visitors find the graves. Deacon Ricky plans Cemetery Tours in the warmer weather — check the Events page for when one is scheduled or email info@cfrri.org if you want to book a group tour or want to volunteer to be part of Deacon Ricky’s team.