Beginning in 2022, a committee of people made up town officials, motivated community members, and archaeological staff from the Schoharie River Center - in consultation with community leaders and tribal historic preservation officials - launched a project to research and rededicate the predominantly African-American Burial Plot in the northern corner of the Middleburgh Town cemetery
Like too-many predominantly Black cemeteries in the US, this area of the town cemetery had been badly maintained for many years, and was marked by signage containing racially offensive language. The chance to rededicate the area with a new interpretive sign offered an opportunity to learn more about the lives of those buried, and 'right the record' by celebrating their memories in a way that also would recognize and honor the diversity of identities, nations, cultures and life histories that might be present.
Our research included historical, archival, and non-invasive archaeological surveys to uncover the names of many of those buried and locate the locations of unmarked graves.
Archaeological surveys revealed many more graves than we have names, meaning that the names of many people buried in the area are still unknown. This project is still, then, very much ongoing and won't be finished until the name of every person is known. If you know any names of additional folks buried here or would like to be involved, we'd love to hear from you!
A Brief History of Schoharie County and the Middleburgh Cemetery
For thousands of years people from many places and backgrounds have called the place now known as the Schoharie Valley "Home." Their lives and accomplishments helped nurture the vibrant communities in which they lived. Notwithstanding, racist beliefs, slavery, and segregation have impacted people's lived experience in the Schoharie Valley for hundreds of years. These practices, based imposed racial categories, segregated people not only in life - but also in death and have impacted and the ways they have been remembered into the present.
Members of the Cemetery Rededication Commitee