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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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Summary: Love Cemetery is the story of one woman trying to come to terms with racism----on both personal and public levels. When China Galland visited her childhood hometown in east Texas, she learned of an unmarked cemetery for slaves----Love Cemetery. Her ensuing quest to reclaim the ground, to mark it, unearths racial wounds that have never completely healed. Research into county historical records and interviews with local residents in Harrison County----at one time the largest slave--owning county in Texas----led Galland to the discovery of Love Cemetery, an African--American communal burial ground that the local community had been locked out of for forty years. Research became activism as she helped organize a grassroots, interracial committee, made up of local religious leaders and lay people, to work on restoring community access to Love. Metaphorically, Love Cemetery is only one example of a much larger body of unearthed history. The author presents material that reaches back to the time of slavery and post--civil war Reconstruction, of lynchings and "landtakings" (the theft of land from African Americans). Love Cemetery shines a light on the national legacy and shame of slavery through an inspiring story of one community's reconciliation in their united effort to mark a piece of American history. The history of Love Cemetery is the history of slavery in the United States----a history that touches us all--black or white. The message of Love Cemetery is ultimately one of tremendous hope as members of both black and white communities come together to right an historical worng, and in so doing, discover each other's common dignity. Sue Monk Kidd praises Love Cemetery: "Racial injustice continues to be a wound in American life that calls out for particular and concrete narratives of healing. This book is just such a narrative, but an especially evocative one. Galland captures the strugle to reclaim one small cemetery in Texas with such engrossing drama and personal detail that the story becomes something larger still----a universal struggle to reclaim the ground of Deep Compassion that lies untended in the human heart. I love Galland's raging empathy for those who are disenfranchised and suffer injustice."

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