Founded in 1886 in Atlanta, South-View Cemetery is the oldest for-profit African American cemetery in the United States. South-View exists because African American freed persons rejected the poorly maintained plots designated for them in segregated cemeteries like Oakland. In an English course, students learn to read the landscape of this cemetery, with a particular focus on its relationship to Martin Luther King Jr., who was originally buried there. The cemetery allows students to ponder the kinds of idiomatic expressions of black history and experience that scholar Kevin Quashie posits as crucial for studying black humanity beyond the language of resistance. Alongside the fenced-in plots of 1906 Atlanta Race Riot victims, students consider how black cemeteries restored a sense of dignity to the black community. Before the seven graves of Atlanta’s missing and murdered children, students may reflect on those unmarked plots. With guidance from the cemetery’s historian, students learn how South-View Cemetery locates the ongoing, substantive performance of race, poverty, and justice in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement.

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