Hickory – Celebrate Black History Month with an exploration of African American archaeology and cemeteries with archaeologist Melissa Timo on Thursday, February 22, at 6:30 pm at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library.  Although the land was almost never legally theirs, cemeteries often became the spiritual homeland and the birthplace of many of the modern traditions and values for enslaved and formerly enslaved Africans and their descendants.  In cemeteries, these marginalized communities, guided by strong matriarchal figures, reshaped this landscape from something alien to something of their own, using folk culture, spirituality, community, kinship networks, and culturally significant artifacts.  This talk will cover the early history of African and African American graveyards in the American southeast and present a case study of the journey one archaeologist took with one such descendant group to reclaim their memory through their old family burying ground.

Melissa Timo, M.A., R.P.A., is the Staff Archaeologist of the Exploring Joara Foundation, Inc.  She has been a public archaeologist and historical interpreter for nine years, and has been involved in archaeology for fifteen years.  Timo has worked with a variety of institutions including Southwest Region of the Florida Public Archaeology Network, a variety of historical societies and National Parks, the University of West Florida, and the Vanderbilt summer home Great Camp Sagamore.  In addition to public archaeology, Melissa’s specialties include: historic cemeteries, historical archaeology, African American archaeology, and the archaeology of frontier communities.

Whelks, Glass and Garden Lights is free and open to the public.  For more information, please call 828-304-0500 ext. 7235.  Patrick Beaver Memorial Library is located at 375 3rd Street NE on the SALT Block.

Image: Pine Forest Cemetery in Wilmington, NC