Jun 23, 2022

A Virtual Tour Uncovers the Hidden History of Black Disenfranchisement

From an article by Corinne Reichert published in the CNET web site:

Dark clouds are gathering over Old Lick Cemetery on a cold April morning. The tiny parcel of wooded land in Roanoke, Virginia, just north of downtown, is the burial ground for hundreds of Black people.

It’s enclosed by a chain-link fence on a thin strip of land wedged between the interstate highway and a busy main road, and marked by a deteriorating, hand-carved wooden sign, a silent reminder that this cemetery used to be bigger. When Virginia wanted to build I-581 in 1961, the highway took priority. Most of the cemetery was unearthed and its occupants shifted to this tiny spot.

Hundreds of gravestones are scattered haphazardly, some as grave markers and some strewn unceremoniously in piles.

“They excavated 960-something people and transferred them. And unfortunately, they did not take the time to identify those bodies,” says Trish White-Boyd, the vice mayor of Roanoke. “Just horrifying.”

The cemetery’s disturbing story would likely remain a footnote in the city’s history were it not for a project called Hidden in Plain Site, the brainchild of creative agency BrownBaylor. It’s designed to resurface the lost narrative of marginalized Black people across the US with experiences you can view through a browser or virtual reality headset.

You can read the rest of the (lengthy) story at:

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