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Preservation Society of Charleston  +

ASABG Team partnership

Mapping Black Burial Grounds

In 2022, the Preservation Society of Charleston (PSC) was awarded an African American Civil Rights Grant by the National Park Service for the Mapping Charleston’s Black Burial Grounds Project. The PSC’s objective is to implement a community-led, open-source mapping project to produce a comprehensive inventory of Black burial grounds in the City of Charleston.

ASABG team members, La'Sheia Oubré and Joanna Gilmore are working with the PSC to facilitate a community engagement program to listen and learn about these sacred sites.

Learn more about the ways that we will work together by watching the video below...

This video conversation was created by the Preservation Society of Charleston and focuses on the Mapping Charleston's Black Burial Grounds initiative.

Project team members discuss the goals of the initiative, as well as best practices for researching, documenting, and interpreting African-descendant burial grounds.

Speakers include: Brian Turner, President & CEO, and Anna-Catherine Carroll, Manager of Preservation Initiatives, Preservation Society of Charleston, and  La’Sheia Oubré and Joanna Gilmore, Anson Street African Burial Ground Project, and Malika Pryor-Martin, International African American Museum.

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Engaging Community

Over the course of 2023 and 2024, the project team will work with the community to identify, research, and define the locations of burial sites that will be integrated into the City’s database as a planning and preservation tool.

The City of Charleston passed its first cemetery protection ordinance in 2021. However, without a map and inventory of Black burial grounds, these sites could be destroyed or damaged during development or climate change. Black burial grounds are at greatest risk, and this project aims to equitably involve community members in protecting these sacred places.

The most important phase of this project is engaging the community to listen and learn about significant local history that is not readily accessible in municipal records. The community will benefit from having these burial grounds listed in a city database because they will be better protected from development.

Black history has been severely under-collected and underrepresented and often exists more so in personal memories, oral traditions, photographs, and family papers than in formal archives.

Anson Street African Burial Ground Project research team members, La’Sheia Oubré and Joanna Gilmore, are honored to be partnering with the PSC to facilitate a dialogue so that community members can shape this project by sharing their knowledge of Black burial sites significant to their neighborhood and family histories.

Save Your Spot

Answers to your questions...

You may have heard about this project from friends, in the newspaper or on a flyer, but what does it mean for you and your community? Below we will try our best to answer any questions that you may have. If you still have questions please email us at

  • What are we asking people to do?

We are inviting community members to attend a listening session where we will share information about this project and you will be able to share information about burial grounds that are important to you. By gathering information on local burial grounds, our goal is to ensure historic burial sites are not overlooked by the City of Charleston, which is empowered to protect them from development impacts.

  • Why are the PSC and ASABG partnering on this effort and what are our guiding principles?

The Preservation Society of Charleston leverages their expertise and funds to advocate for the preservation and protection of important historical sites in the Charleston area, which includes Black Burial Grounds. The Anson Street African Burial Ground Team has been working on African descendant burial sites since 2013. La'Sheia Oubré and Joanna Gilmore are committed to serving the African American communities of the Charleston area by encouraging individuals to participate in the stewardship of these important sites.

Together we are stronger. We aim to foster an open dialogue about the preservation of burial grounds, the process of mapping these sites, and how the community can be involved in the documentation process, as well as determining the project outcomes.

  • Who does this project benefit and who will have access to information collected?

This project will especially benefit the descendants of African American individuals buried in the City of Charleston because it will allow grave sites to be documented and better protected from development. The information about each burial ground will be stored and used for planning purposes by the City of Charleston City Planning Department, which may also be made publicly accessible with the consent of descendants.

African and African descendant people’s burial sites are disappearing from the American landscape, taking with them the history and heritage associated with a particular place. The documentation of these treasured gravesites aims to honor the histories of the deceased, and the spiritual and cultural heritage of their Gullah Geechee descendants today.

Please email La’Sheia and Joanna with any questions or feedback at

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