Hanover County Black History Exhibit and “Underground History” presentation

Hanover County Black Heritage Society
Friday, February 10, 2012,  6-8pm
Henry Clay Inn
114 North Railroad Avenue
Ashland, VA 23005

Travel back in time, see, touch and feel original items from a time long past.

In addition to the exhibit, the Hanover County Black Heritage Society will present Randolph-Macon College Senior Kenneth White in a brief presentation about his SURF research project entitled: “Uncovering the Past: What we can Learn From Cemeteries, Genealogy and Other Non-Traditional Sources.” This paper began under the research direction of HCBHS Board Member and R-MC Professor D. Reber Dunkel, PhD during the summer of 2011. Mr. White, a history major, with minors in both Black Studies and Education, plans to become a high school social studies teacher.

This research provides information on one plantation in Hanover County, Virginia, and shines light on the slave cemetery associated with the plantation. Prior to the findings of this research, not much was known about the family or the cemetery associated with the property.

Using online databases produced no results on the family. Preliminary discussions with members of both the white and African-American communities that make up that area of Hanover County turned up only a handful of people who knew about the cemetery, Mr. White suspected a possible denial of the cemetery’s existence, history and connection to antebellum slavery. He extended his research and it took him from Hanover County to Louisa and other Virginia counties and into the states of Kentucky and Louisiana. By using archival resources, interviews, and oral histories, the findings in this paper reveal that: 1. there is a hidden cemetery in western Hanover County, 2. the owners had a wealth of land that extended from Hanover to Louisa County, along with land in the state of Kentucky and Louisiana, and 3. slaves were buried on the plantation. The information in this paper serves as the initial step in bringing more attention to uncovering unknown slave cemeteries in Hanover County, which in turn will lead to the recognition and preservation of these cemeteries.

Mr. White will talk about these issues as well as argue for the importance of this research as an essential tool in the recognition and preservation of cemeteries as a valuable historical information source