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International archaeologists to discuss Tucker’s Town free black cemetery

Panelist: former ombudsman Arlene Brock (File photograph)

A webinar featuring international archaeologists discussing the latest research into the Tucker’s Town free black cemetery will be held tomorrow.

The panel discussion, Decolonising Archaeology in Bermuda, was organised by Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda, the Tucker’s Town Historical Society, and Durham University.

The event will feature Bermudians and international academics in the field of archaeology, who will provide the latest research on the Tucker’s Town Free Black Cemetery, consider matters such as “scientific racism” and the material dimensions of racial justice and sites of memory, as well as offer salient international examples throughout the diaspora and relevant precedents of international law.

Catherine Draycott of Durham University in the UK, said: “This is an exciting event in the archaeology world.

“The panel is internationally important in bringing together Bermudian and overseas researchers with experience of other cases, to consider issues of value and to offer perspectives on practices elsewhere in the world.”

“The importance lies not just in bringing big names in Black archaeology such as Whitney Battle-Baptiste and Michael Blakey into the conversation, and in bringing international attention to the plight of this memorial and the larger cultural heritage issues that are attached, but in boosting the voices of the local researchers and allowing online attendees to make connections and share their voices as well.

“This kind of event can support activism and lead to helpful partnerships with much potential to transform heritage and archaeology in Bermuda.”

In a statement, CURB said: “Tucker’s Town’s burial ground is a lasting memorial of a once thriving free Black community in Bermuda.

“The burial plot, long neglected and overgrown, was recovered in the late 20th century.

“By 2008, the Tucker’s Town Historical Society and CURB successfully advocated for the cemetery to be made into an Historic Preservation Area.

“In December 2012, the ‘protected’ gravestones were bulldozed to the horror of the descendants and community.”

Panellists include Arlene Brock, a former ombudsman, historical researcher LeYoni Junos, scholar-activist Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, and Dr. Rui Gomes-Coelho, assistant professor and historical archaeologist of Durham University.

Anyone interested can register to receive a link to the free webinar at https://bit.ly/3h8Ti8A.

Registration will remain open until the event, which will start at 5.30pm. For further information, e-mail admin@uprootingracism.org.

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Published June 30, 2021 at 7:45 am (Updated June 30, 2021 at 7:45 am)

International archaeologists to discuss Tucker’s Town free black cemetery

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