North Woodlawn Cemetery: Remotely Sensing Jim Crow

Author(s): James Pepe

Year: 2016


North Woodlawn Cemetery served Fort Lauderdale’s African American community during the period of legislated racial segregation. In the 1960s, a portion of the cemetery was purchased by the State of Florida and incorporated into the new Right-of-Way (ROW) for Interstate 95. In 2012, Janus Research began working with the Florida Department of Transportation on possible improvements in the vicinity of North Woodlawn. A major part of this research involved ascertaining if unmarked graves are present within the I-95 ROW. An unspoken assumption of project archaeologists and planners was that local citizens would welcome the excavation of remains from the ROW for reburial within current cemetery boundaries. Field methodology was limited to remote sensing techniques, including use of a cadaver dog, ground-penetrating radar (GPR), and radar tomography. Additional research involved the solicitation of information from local informants. This presentation provides the results, limitations and benefits of each technique used in the project. It also adds to the pioneering remote sensing studies conducted by Dr. William Jerald Kennedy in the 1980s on reported local burial sites. In a larger sense, this study also illustrates the perils of a project designed by the enfranchised for the ostensible benefit of the historically disenfranchised.

Cite this Record

North Woodlawn Cemetery: Remotely Sensing Jim Crow. James Pepe. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403007)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;