(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
Enslaved Africans brought with them to North America a profoundly religious culture. Ancient traditions from various African regions and traditions enriched African American Christianity. George Fuller (1822-1884) was an artist from of Deerfield, Massachusetts. He drew this hasty sketch of an African American funeral in Alabama in 1858. The sketch and his memories of this event formed the basis for his painting, Negro Funeral, Alabama, currently in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts. Slave owners generally allowed slaves to conduct their own funeral services. White plantation owners often required that deceased slaves be buried in more remote areas of a plantation. This racially-motivated arrangement may have provided African American mourners more privacy and control over burial rites.