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The Penniless Dead
A Return to The Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground

I made my second visit to this old Indian Burial Ground, turned an Irish mass grave, become a free African –American family grave site. Ironically, this 3.474 acre plot of land, recently consecrated as an African-American and Native American heritage site had a great tree fallen across the central area, paved and inscribed with a legend as to whose bones were sunk here.

The general history is that this Indian Burial Ground was later used by European-Americans as a potter’s field, where people were sunk into unmarked graves, then as a Mass Grave during the cholera epidemic of 1840 and the smallpox epidemic of 1845, and finally as a place for African Americans. According to public records from the Post Civil War period 62% of those interred during that time were African American or Native American. This means that 38% of the dead were impoverished whites even after the burial ground supposedly became an exclusively Native and African burial site.

There is no information on the numbers of people buried here in earlier times, most of whom would have been Irish. However, the official, academic opinion was, that since pennies had been placed on the eyes of many of the dead that these were all obviously African Americas, as a well-known Negro Cemetery elsewhere in New York saw this practice among the families of interred blacks.

Of course, there is no history of West Africans doing this, rather it was an ancient Greek and possibly Hebrew custom that was practiced in the early modern world primarily by Irish. Incidentally, most of the Caucasian slaves trafficked into New York were Irish. It also follows that many Irish married into local tribes and intermarried with blacks, free and unfree, as the Dutch and the English regarded Irish folk as the lowest form of European humanity.

Between the 1850s and 1898 a free black family with the last name of Bun buried their dead here, some with headstones.

The place name given in Native American, spelled in English is Chekesuwand.

Why must poor whites be excluded from recognition in the very place where their bones rest in deep heaps above the ancient natives and below a thin layer of free African-Americans?

Perhaps to obscure the fact that the only slaves buried in this Native American/African American heritage site were Europeans.

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BobMay 24, 2018 1:55 AM UTC

Thanks. This sort of revisionism will be needed when whites reprise their culture and heritage. Own the present and the past comes free.