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Tue Mar 20, 2018, 03:25 PM

Graves of 1,000 enslaved people found near Ascension refinery; Shell, preservationists to honor them

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Graves of 1,000 enslaved people found near Ascension refinery; Shell, preservationists to honor them http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/communities/ascension/article_18c62526-2611-11e8-9aec-d71a6bbc9b0c.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=user-share via @theadvocatebr



Graves of 1,000 enslaved people found near Ascension refinery; Shell, preservationists to honor them

BY TERRY L. JONES | TJONES@THEADVOCATE.COM MAR 18, 2018 - 1:45 PM

DARROW The unmarked graves of as many as 1,000 slaves who toiled in the agricultural fields of two Ascension Parish plantations were uncovered five years ago by an archaeologist working for the Shell Convent refinery, a finding that one state expert said is among the largest unknown burial grounds discovered in Louisiana.

Now, the company is moving forward with a plan to remember those enslaved people, working with the River Road African American Museum to mark the two cemeteries and allow descendants onto the property to pay their respects.

"I always knew there were cemeteries out there somewhere," said Kathe Hambrick, founder of the River Road African American Museum in Donaldsonville. "Having the plantation map in the museum and understanding there were as many as 100 plantations in Ascension Parish, I've always wondered, 'Where were all those cemeteries for all those plantations?' It has been brought to my attention that many of these cemeteries are now on property owned by industry."

The Shell Convent Refinery is set to host a memorial service and marker dedication on March 24 for enslaved people buried in the Bruslie and Monroe plantations located to the northwest of the plant. Historical records show there were at least two more plantations on the more than 4,000 acres of property Shell owns in Ascension.

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