Part II: The his­tory of African Amer­i­can death

South Florida Times - - OBITUARIES - Cour­tesy of north­bysouth.kenyon.edu

Please Note: This ar­ti­cle is con­tin­ued from the edi­tion pub­lished Oct. 26, 2017 that de­tails var­i­ous tra­di­tions of blacks when deal­ing with death.

All of the cars fol­low­ing in the (fu­neral) pro­ces­sion place pur­ple flags upon their an­ten­nas and drive with the car head lights on to iden­tify them­selves as mem­bers of the fu­neral pro­ces­sion.

Once the ceme­tery is reached, many tra­di­tions (or su­per­sti­tions) are fol­lowed con­cern­ing the ac­tual burial of the dead. It is be­lieved that it is im­por­tant that the dead be buried feet fac­ing east; to al­low ris­ing at Judg­ment Day. Other­wise the per­son re­mains in the cross­ways of the world.

Coins are placed on the eyes of the dead to keep them closed. How­ever, coins were also some­times placed in the hands as the de­ceased per­son's con­tri­bu­tion to the com­mu­nity of the an­ces­tors – or per­haps, as a to­ken for ad­mit­tance to the spirit world.

For the same pur­pose, coins are also placed on or around the gravesite. It is be­lieved that one should al­ways cover the body and one should never place it di­rectly in the ground.

All of these tra­di­tions may not be prac­ticed by every African Amer­i­can fam­ily, but many of them were and still are be­lieved to this day.

PLEASE NOTE: This ar­ti­cle has been edited fro brevity and clar­ity.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF BORE­DOM THER­APY

Tra­di­tion of coins left on the grave

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