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Historic African American Cemetery Mapped in Rhode Island

Monday, March 30, 2020

Rhode Island CemeteryPROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND—According to a statement released by Brown University, graduate students Alex Marko, Dan Plekhov, and Miriam Rothenberg assembled an interactive map of God’s Little Acre, an African American burial ground in Newport, Rhode Island. The cemetery, in use between 1720 and 1990, holds the remains of generations of free and enslaved people, some of whom were born in Africa. The map, created using 3-D photogrammetry and images captured through the use of a drone, will be linked to a database of information engraved on headstones, which can include the names of the deceased, birth and death years, the names of relatives, epitaphs, and occupations. Such information is rarely available for enslaved people, who were not recorded during the census in early Newport history. Marko said that the project, when completed, will be available to the public, and will allow anyone to search the cemetery for information about a particular family or for people who died during a particular year. The map will also allow users to see how the cemetery evolved over time. To read about an unmarked cemetery for African American prison laborers that was discovered in Texas, go to "Another Form of Slavery."

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