Share This Day

Share to your favorite social media page

When will National Black Enslaved People Burial Grounds Recognition Day be celebrated? February 13th of each calendar year.

What is National Black Enslaved People Burial Grounds Recognition Day? The National Black Enslaved People Burial Grounds Recognition Day will be a day for Americans:

  1. To acknowledge, honor, and commit to the care and preservation of America’s overlooked enslaved people’s final resting places – before they are gone. One may ask why? I ask – if not now, when?
  2. To focus on the last significant remnant and evidence that the most inhumane and unjust treatment of enslaved people (who were the major contributors to America’s foundation) existed.

How should National Black Enslaved People Burial Grounds Recognition Day be celebrated or observed? The day should be observed by Americans performing the following:

  1. Attend events associated with burial grounds preservation – although most enslaved burial grounds preservation initiatives are local, the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training and the National Preservation Institute offer workshops.
  2. Contact and get involved with their State Historic Preservation Office or local historical/genealogical society. Help to identify burial grounds (we need to know where they are to preserve them).
  3. Establish or join a burial ground’s preservation group.
  4. Incorporate enslaved burial grounds visits/history in the education of America – the sites are great learning tools for architects, archaeologists, historians, students, and communities. Therefore, restoring the sites and using them as educational tools as much as possible is imperative.
  5. Schedule events: Hold clean-up day(s), host a historical event, or start a webpage to build community interest in a burial ground.
  6. Visit a burial ground.

Most of the above recommendations/suggestions are things an individual may want to do; however, individuals may wish to perform them via supporting an existing local/state government or community organization.

Why was National Black Enslaved People Burial Grounds Recognition Day created? The day is being created/proposed as a way to bring national focus to the Black enslaved people’s burial grounds plight (the piece of neglected history, for the lack of better terms, “burying the buried history”) – especially since every site has an important story. The stories have and will continue to inspire (the more they are known) Americans and strengthen their convictions and commitment to fight against injustice/oppression and fight to save our history.

The Black enslaved people’s burial grounds are the lynchpin that provides descendants and others a way to connect the past with the future, a mechanism for learning about ancestors and honoring them with memorials. The grounds offer a base for knowledge about how enslaved people arrived/their contributions to America (economic, religious, traditions, etc.), and how they lived, died, and were buried.

Some cities and states across America have — to diverse degrees — supported the growing enslaved people burial grounds preservation effort, but regulations/legislature at the federal level had not been visible until 2019-2022 as follows:

  • In 2019, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep Alma Adams, a Democrat from North Carolina.
  • In 2020, the Senate passed an adaptation of the African American Burial Grounds Network Act; the act will create a database of historic Black burial grounds, assist with the preservation of the sites, provide research grants, and be under the Nation Park Service.
  • In December 2022, the act was signed into law and recommended for funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Budget. At the time of this submission, the FY 2024 Budget had yet to be approved by Congress. Therefore, the implementation is pending as well.

In conclusion, heritage conservation, such as preserving Black enslaved people’s cemeteries, has proven to be a thriving element for entrepreneurship, innovation, contributions to tourism, increasing property values, and employment. The reasons for this day’s establishment will ultimately result in the identification of more grounds and the care and preservation of America’s forgotten and endangered significant landmarks.

Who created this day? This day was created by Patricia Kemp in 2024.