24 min

Unearthing Black History in Brooklyn: Green-Wood Cemetery’s Freedom Lots Urban Roots

    • History

Founded in 1838, Green-Wood Cemetery is one of the earliest (and most famous) rural cemeteries in America. Its grandiose, park-like setting is scattered with notable burial sites and architectural masterpieces. But, in our interviews with Green-Wood staff members (Neela Wickremesinghe, Jeff Richman, and Darryl Jones), we learn about a lesser-known area: the Freedom Lots, where African Americans were buried.

In 2017, these seven lots were in very rough shape — some of the graves were destroyed past recovery. This episode tells the story of the people of color who took action to not only preserve what was left of these physical graves, but to commemorate the memories of the people buried there.

Our Guests: Green-Wood’s Director of Restoration and Preservation, Neela Wickremesinghe; staff Historian, Jeff Richman; and Darryl Jones (Neela’s former intern who now works for the cemetery full time)! 

About Us: Urban Roots is a podcast that takes a deep dive into little known stories from urban history. The pod is an offshoot of Urbanist Media, a not-for-profit anti-racist community preservation collaborative.

Credits: Hosts and Executive Producers: Deqah Hussein-Wetzel and Vanessa Maria Quirk / Editor and Executive Producer:  Connor Lynch / Mixer: Andrew Callaway. Music/Composer: Adaam James Levin-Areddy.

Support us by Donating: PayPal | Venmo

Find Us: Website | PayPal | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

Founded in 1838, Green-Wood Cemetery is one of the earliest (and most famous) rural cemeteries in America. Its grandiose, park-like setting is scattered with notable burial sites and architectural masterpieces. But, in our interviews with Green-Wood staff members (Neela Wickremesinghe, Jeff Richman, and Darryl Jones), we learn about a lesser-known area: the Freedom Lots, where African Americans were buried.

In 2017, these seven lots were in very rough shape — some of the graves were destroyed past recovery. This episode tells the story of the people of color who took action to not only preserve what was left of these physical graves, but to commemorate the memories of the people buried there.

Our Guests: Green-Wood’s Director of Restoration and Preservation, Neela Wickremesinghe; staff Historian, Jeff Richman; and Darryl Jones (Neela’s former intern who now works for the cemetery full time)! 

About Us: Urban Roots is a podcast that takes a deep dive into little known stories from urban history. The pod is an offshoot of Urbanist Media, a not-for-profit anti-racist community preservation collaborative.

Credits: Hosts and Executive Producers: Deqah Hussein-Wetzel and Vanessa Maria Quirk / Editor and Executive Producer:  Connor Lynch / Mixer: Andrew Callaway. Music/Composer: Adaam James Levin-Areddy.

Support us by Donating: PayPal | Venmo

Find Us: Website | PayPal | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

24 min

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