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Love Cemetery : unburying the secret history of slaves
China Galland
Adult Nonfiction E185.93.T4 G35 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Galland chronicles the restoration and reconsecration of an African-American cemetery in her East Texas childhood hometown in this inspirational first-person account. The author, who is white, uncovers a fragment of local history in the process of her participation in an interracial group of people who from 2003 to 2006 convened a series of "work parties" at the cemetery--hacking at weeds, repairing gravestones and making offerings to the ancestors. Galland reports the meetings, church services and potluck suppers she joins in around the communal cleanup of Love Cemetery, which may date back to the 1830s. She portrays the Boy Scout troop, various clergy, parishioners and the community elders ("keepers of the group memory") involved in the effort, with especially nuanced portraits of two African-American women, Doris Vittatoe (a direct descendant of a man buried there) and Nuthel Britton (the unofficial cemetery caretaker). Galland (The Bond Between Women, 1998), who leads spiritual retreats, was acutely aware of "the dissonance between the black and white experience of life in America," but comes to her own "understanding that enormous change happens through tiny choices." Despite some slack passages, this fresh if not always coherent tale will appeal to women readers eager for an uplifting story. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This is the story of Galland's (The Bond Between Women: A Journey to Fierce Compassion) involvement in restoring a rural African American burial ground in east Texas. While researching black history in her hometown of Dallas, Galland became interested in slave cemeteries and heard about the abandoned Love Cemetery in Harrison County. Although black farmers had owned the surrounding land after the Civil War, by the early 20th century, whites effectively gained control of the area through such means as illegal seizure as payment for debts. Later, the logging industry took over the land and prevented descendants from visiting the gravesites. Galland brought together many volunteers of varying races, ages, and faiths to restore the cemetery in a series of cleanups. As a white woman, she became unsure of her role in leading the restoration but never gave up hope that the cemetery could be used to further racial reconciliation. Her book brings attention to the history of black Texans and demonstrates the importance of restoring slave cemeteries. Recommended for African American history collections in public libraries.-Kathryn Stewart, SLIS student, Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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