The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out -- but graveyards are not just the haunts of corpses and ghosts. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, The Cemetery, part of our special series on The Storied Land. Tales of the living in the landscapes of the dead.
Wilbur Hughes and his mother, Roberta Hughes Wright, are the co-authors of Lay Down Body, - a book on African American cemetaries. They tell Judith Strasser about some of the graves and traditions dating back to slavery times still to be found on Daufuskie and Hilton Head Islands in South Carolina. Also, cultural geographer Terry Jordan of the University of Texas is the author of Texas Graveyards: A Cultural Legacy. He tells Steve Paulson that a traditional Southern graveyard will have all the grass plucked from the graves, while a Mexican cemetery will be full of religious iconography. In many cases, people are carrying on old traditions whose meaning they no longer remember.SEGMENT 2:
Landscape historian Blanche Linden talks with Judith Strasser about the history of the American graveyard from early disease-infested churchyards, to garden cemeteries and the modern memorial park. Linden is the author of Silent City on a Hill: Landscapes of Memory and Boston's Mount Auburn Cemetery.SEGMENT 3:
Folklorist Richard Meyer tells Jim Fleming about some of the most memorable grave markers he's run across and how people are adopting hi-tech means to leave their last impression. Meyer is professor emeritus of English and Folklore at Western Oregon University, and the author of Cemeteries and Gravemakers: Voices of American Culture. Also, an epitaph from Andrei Codrescu.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 98-04-19-C.
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