Resolving Individual and Community Identities though Spirituality and Ritual: Some Insights from Burial Practices Observed at the First African Baptist Church Cemetery Sites, Philadelphia

Author(s): John P McCarthy

Year: 2018

Summary

Several non-Western/non-Christian burial practices that made unusual use of ordinary material objects were seen at two cemeteries associated with the First African Baptist Church, Philadelphia.   These practices appear to have been influenced by beliefs about the afterlife and the spirit world developed from African and possibly other sources, and I have argued previously that the maintenance and possible reintroduction of these practices into the city’s African-American community are indicative of an African-based social identity in the face of growing hostility and racism over the course of the first half of the nineteenth-century.  This paper briefly describes these practices seen in Philadelphia and elsewhere and considers them as indictors of social or community identity that is resolved with an individual’s personal identity only in the special context of laying the dead to rest.  

Cite this Record

Resolving Individual and Community Identities though Spirituality and Ritual: Some Insights from Burial Practices Observed at the First African Baptist Church Cemetery Sites, Philadelphia. John P McCarthy. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441772)

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Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 933