*In 2005 a bevy of construction workers stumbled upon something no one could have ever anticipated. Once unearthed and following extensive tests, analysis and research, the find was confirmed as the bones of 14 people whose lives were anything but easy. These were the bodies of former slaves, seven adults, two children and five infants. The remains showed signs of arthritic backs, missing teeth and muscular frames, according to The Associated Press. Now an artist has completed a recreation of the faces of the seven adults and they are being prepared for burial.
Researchers conclude the people worked on a farm near Albany, New York and died in the 18th or early 19th century. Now volunteers are planning a burial described as being “unthinkable during their lifetime.”
Evelyn Kamili King of the Schuyler Flatts Burial Project says, “This is the kind of project that can mend the race relationships in the United States.”
A display of beautifully hand-painted burial boxes are being prepared for a June 18 public remembrance; among them are custom crafted paintings of images that evoke the rich history of Africa and Madagascar, created by artist Danielle Charleston, who says the stories of these people resonates with her.
“So many slaves were buried and forgotten. So many of them were buried with unmarked graves. I think that, I might almost be sure that there are more of them buried somewhere under a sidewalk or a street,” Charleston says.
A plot has been donated by the Agnes Cemetery, not far from where the remains were found.
Watch the Associated Press video report directly below.