Thursday, January 21, 2016

We could think of no better way to commemorate MLK Day than to spend it remembering those buried in St. Augustine's oldest African American cemetery.   

San Sebastian Cemetery is located just outside of St. Augustine's Historic District.  It's only 50 feet away from the meticulously maintained Evergreen Cemetery, which has contrasted greatly to San Sebastian's often neglected and vandalized state.  Thanks to the clean up efforts of several groups, San Sebastian is in a much improved condition, allowing us to see and record what is there!  Recording involves transcribing each grave's names, dates, iconography, location, measurements, and getting detailed pictures. This past MLK Day we had 7 volunteers help us do exactly that, and 32 graves were recorded!

Being that many of the graves are unnamed or half buried, creating an accurate picture of San Sebastian can be tricky.
 Historical records also indicate that many graves were marked only with a stone, a tree or a pile of conch shells - and sometimes the piles would be moved to different locations around the cemetery!  

So, although something may look like a meaningless pile of rubble, it could actually be marking someone's final resting place and needs to be recorded.

But in addition to the mysterious, San Sebastian Cemetery is also full of the beautiful; Some marker's beauty lies in the shape of its stone while others lie in the sweetness of the homemade attempt to remember a loved one.



We will be recording at San Sebastian Cemetery every Monday starting at 11:00 a.m. for the next several months and would love it if you could join us!

Text and Photos by FPAN Staff, Robbie Boggs

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