Cemeteries, Michel Ragon once noted, may begin as spaces of internment but are often transformed into a museum. In that capacity their organization, their memorializing structures, their selection of who could and could not be laid to rest there (among their myriad other features), all serve as forms of instruction to the living wandering the grounds. The landscape of the cemetery and the symbolic visual languages that give meaning to its various elements—grave markers, mausolea, the disposition of burial sites relative to one another, the articulation of boundaries between the cemetery and the surrounding areas—can generally be understood as efforts to communicate and materialize particular religious, cultural, social, and even political values. My interest here is to explore the landscape of the Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta in order to understand how race shaped its internal organization and, in turn, how the racial politics of the cemetery space materialize the turbulent history of race relations in Atlanta.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/benjamin_flowers/12/