On August 18th, 2022, Velma Fann, historian for New South Associates, met with descendant communities within Sirrine Hall at Clemson University to discuss ideas for memorialization at Woodland Cemetery. Based in Columbia, South Carolina, with additional offices in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, New South Associates is a women-owned small business that provides cultural resource consulting services. Their work with history and archeology includes contextualizing cemeteries, highways, and plantations throughout the southeast. Working within federal and state laws parameters, New South Associates makes a concerted effort to involve local community members in their historic preservation process.
Fifteen members of the local descendant community brainstormed ideas for what Woodland Cemetery’s memorial to African Americans buried there could encompass. The responses varied between the two sessions with New South as one group discussed different ideas from 3-5 PM and another from 5-7 PM. The first group was composed of mainly Black residents from Clemson and Seneca. They discussed how to incorporate visual and auditory elements, such as light and the sound of the wind, to commemorate people of African descent who are buried in the cemetery. The second group was primarily composed of Clemson, Anderson, and Pendleton Black descendants. Their approach to a memorial was more steeped in spirituality and tranquility through the creation of a peaceful place on campus to reflect. This initial meeting was the first of a few planned with New South as the Pathways Project for the cemetery is set to begin in January 2023.
Read more project updates in our September 2022 Newsletter.
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