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Telling the Story of Slave Square

In 1852, the Atlanta City Council ruled that African Americans were to be buried in a segregated section at the rear of Oakland Cemetery, at the eastern boundary of the Original Six Acres. Most, though not all, of the African Americans buried in this section were enslaved, and the area came to be known as “Slave Square.”

By 1877, Oakland Cemetery had expanded to 48 acres, and the burial lots surrounding Slave Square set aside for white Americans were full. The Atlanta City Council decided that the bodies interred in Slave Square would be removed to make room for more white burials. The people buried in Slave Square were relocated to the “colored pauper grounds.” After the Sexton prepared the ground for new burials, the lots in Slave Square were sold to white families for $50 or more.

The images below show some of the names of men, women, and children who were buried here as recorded by Oakland Cemetery sextons over the years. These records also show the date of death, age at death, birthplace, cause of death, and original location in “Slave Square.”

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