The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Supporters Comments

Online: January, 2011

Over the years hundreds of people have voiced their support of the effort to encourage the National Park Service to replace The Slave Meadow headstones. Thanks to all of you.

Many have added their personal comments. Below is a sampling of those comments. There are many more to add and we are adding them as time permits.

I think this is an idea whose time has come.
Glen Allen, VA
Tue 1/21/2003 12:13 PM

These are fellow Americans just as you and I. They too worked hard to help build this country. Give them their due and replace their stones. You might just say a prayer for them also. God bless them!
Lompoc, CA
Wed 1/15/2003 11:10 PM

No grave should be disturbed and left unmarked.
However, should it become a dire necessity to move one's resting place, it should be done with the utmost respect. Every effort should be made to correct this insensitive wrong done at the Slave Meadow at Meadows of Dan, Virginia.
Butler, PA
Mon 1/6/2003 1:05 PM

It would be fitting and proper to honor these people in a respectful way.
Gas City, IN
Tue 12/10/2002 2:48 PM

My Grandparents were from Grayson County, Elk Creek, to be exact. There is much history in the area and we need to support any efforts to preserve our precious history.
Bel Air, MD
Thu 11/7/2002 2:50 PM

Please do not let these poor people that are buried near the Parkway lie unmarked in their deaths as they were left unmarked as human beings in their actual lives. They were a living people to many. We cannot afford to lose our history!
Lowell, MI
Sun 10/27/2002 8:54 AM

A very interesting article. We should all show that we are Americans who love freedom for all people regardless of race, color or origin. God bless you in this worthwhile endeavor.
Canby, OR
Sat 10/12/2002 10:52 PM

I think it is a sad day in our American Heritage when our past is arbitrarily shoveled away. How do we teach our children to respect and honor our history, regardless of color or creed, when they see our own politicians and government ignore such an important part of our country? If you, the officials who can do something about this, ignore what you know needs to be done, SHAME ON YOU!
Mansfield, OH
Sat 9/28/2002 11:44 AM

I think it is deplorable that the markers on the graves of these people were removed in the first place let alone not replaced. It shows total disrespect for the people that helped make that parcel of your great land what it is today. Hopefully in years to come someone won't do that to your gravesite!
Leesburg, FL
Tue 9/24/2002 5:13 PM

I have heard about these graves for years and I feel strongly that a monument should be erected in the meadow. Thank you for your consideration.
Martinsville, VA
Mon 9/16/2002 1:52 PM

Lest they be not forgotten, like the American Indians!
Wilburton, OK
Sat 9/14/2002 3:34 AM

I think it is imperative we do this while the information is still available.
Centennial, CO
Tue 9/10/2002 5:57 PM

I have always felt that graves and cemeteries are on hallowed ground and should never be disturbed! All of these individuals have families (somewhere) who would love to have a place to go to in order to pay respect and leave flowers! Even in Texas when a freeway is built, graveyards are not disturbed! I have seen several freeways split with a fenced graveyard in the middle. All of these people where once alive and working hard to help settle that part of our country! They deserve respect and recognition for what they accomplished as human beings!
Red Oak, TX
Thu 9/5/2002 7:13 PM

I have spent countless hours in the work of recording cemeteries in the Old Tryon County, NC area as you can see by my website at [no longer active]. There are so many of these small cemeteries already gone and I think that is a real shame.
Forest City, NC
Mon 9/2/2002 8:32 AM

Having traveled considerably along the Parkway over the years, I've had the pleasure at stopping at many of the little graveyards along the roadside. During these stops I take the time to say a prayer for those who are buried there, and take the time to contemplate what their lives must've been like. There is a quiet, sad, beauty about these little graveyards that transcend time. I would hope that the park service would honor the commitment they made so long ago to replace the headstones that were taken from these poor souls.
Sanford, FL
Sat 8/31/2002 10:36 AM

I'm hoping to see some kind of monument the next time I ride down from Indiana to see the beautiful Parkway. I'm sure that such a symbol of respect and remembrance would be a worthwhile stop for many visitors.
Wabash, IN
Sun 8/25/2002 1:31 PM

Speaking for myself and my sons and their wives and families, please take a moment to remember that these people, though they were slaves, were humans and deserve respect and dignity. All life deserves dignity. Please accept our 9 voices, who request something so simple as a monument to remember the few, no matter how many, who helped pave the way for thousands later on.
Redding, CA
Thu 8/22/2002 1:18 AM

I do genealogy and I am deep into history--I have found quite a few cemeteries that have been bulldozed over to make way for progress---this should never happen--the people that have done or will do this will not rest in peace when their time comes.
Hope Mills, NC
Sun 8/18/2002 1:10 AM

I think it is so sad that these people worked hard and where treated badly most likely and now they can't even rest in Peace, and after all of us as Americans really haven't done anything for the slaves or their families We never want to talk about them and we also feel bad about it, so now is a time we can at least do this and know that they are in peace after living such [a] hard life and if the truth is to be told they did help build this country. Please give them some respect in the after life
Pawtucket, RI
Fri 8/9/2002 1:05 PM

Should it be possible to restore the original grave stones to their rightful places, that would be wonderful, also. Thank you.
Delran, NJ
Thu 8/8/2002 8:00 PM

Just as you and your friends and family wish to know where you will be [laid] to rest, these individuals deserve the same courtesy. Please, take into consideration these souls who have passed on and their contribution to life in these hills as we know it...
Honaker, VA
Tue 8/6/2002 6:43 PM

The preservation and recognition of this historical site is important. It's legacy should not go unknown, unrecognized or unnoticed. As a native of Richmond, Virginia who has found family as far away as Dresden, Ontario Canada due to the presence of these all important markers, I have a passion to pass on my history and its legacy as an American, a native American, and an African-American to my children. If the Blue Ridge [Parkway] removed the markers, it is their responsibility to put them back or erect a monument.
Grand Blanc, MI
Mon 7/29/2002 9:46 AM

As a tourist and fellow American, I think it would be admirable to recognize the one thing we all take for granted---life. All of these people at some time lived a meaningful life. We should acknowledge and celebrate their lives and contributions.
Greensboro, NC
Fri 7/26/2002 4:27 PM

I feel very strongly about this as too many of our old cemeteries and graves have been desecrated and torn away with out any thought to the part they played in our way of life. Many of my Ancestors were from Virginia and the Carolinas and yes they owned slaves but they were respected members of the family community. They may have just been slaves but they were God's Children too and their descendants need to know they were respected in their rest. Even the Great Blue Ridge Parkway should have enough respect to either erect a monument or replace the crude headstones they tossed aside. 60 years is a disgrace.
Caledonia, MS
7/22/2002 12:22 PM

Please help restore the lost memories. If there is any way I can help Let me know.
Charlotte, NC
Fri 7/19/2002 1:15 PM

It is important for us as citizens to teach our children of the rich history of African Americans. When I say our children, I'm talking about ALL American Children no matter what their ethnic heritage. The contributions of African Americans helped shape America as we know it.

To preserve such a historic site as the Slave Meadow Gravesite would be beneficial to many generations to come. Our children need not only a written history, they also need sometime that they can see and touch. Something that would bring the history to life.
Cleveland, OH
Thu 7/4/2002 8:10 PM

I am currently working on documenting slave cemeteries in Powhatan County, Virginia. In the process of collecting oral histories surrounding the cemeteries in my project area, I have found that loss of recognition of these historic sites equals loss of their accompanying history. Successive generations grow up ignorant of the lives of their ancestors. Please make every attempt to tell the history of the Slave Meadow site with a memorial marker and any further efforts.
Blacksburg, VA
Mon 7/1/2002 2:56 PM

While I do not have any ties to the Blue Ridge Mountains, aside from an admirer of their beauty, I do feel that an acknowledgement to these people are in order as they are part of the Blue Ridge mountains' history.
Hixson, TN
Sun 6/2/2002 11:22 AM

We need to see that are graves and the stones that are there are not destroyed. This is our heritage and we must preserve it. How will future generations be able to grasp or know how our great nation really began. We must take care of and save the wonderful spots and places that still exist. We have already destroyed to many and it seems that as time goes forward that there is less and less caring to save these precious heritage places for our future generations. We must thru our generation show the next generation that it is very important to preserve our history. Thank you.
Conover, NC
Sat 6/1/2002 2:11 PM

As a citizen on this Memorial Day Weekend and after 911 I think that we OWE this to the people who created this great country of ours, we have spent tax dollars to open parks this weekend for endless number of people to enjoy their lives and in some parks the lives of those who went before us. Perhaps a few thousand spent to create this monument to those who were the among the true founders of our country wouldn't hurt.
Waldorf, MD
Sat 5/25/2002 9:30 AM

Surely the graves of early white people would not have been treated with such little regard or respect.
San Diego, CA
Wed 5/22/2002 4:50 PM

Editor's Note: Unfortunately there are thousands of small, overrun and forgotten cemeteries, both black and white, throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains. However, we know of no other where the headstones were removed by a department of the United States government and never replaced.

I would be happy to volunteer if this would become a volunteer effort. I think it would be a fantastic thing to create a volunteer organization to do. Great for kids who need to learn more about history and what's important. Count me in.
Round Hill, VA
Wed 5/22/2002 10:15 AM

A very worthy cause to just replace what should not have been moved to start with. Good luck in your endeavor. An email is little enough to do for this project.
Kountze, TX
Tue 4/30/2002 4:32 PM

I see no reason why you can not have both a single monument and the original gravestones replaced.
Oak Hill, WV
Sun 4/28/2002 6:19 PM

We all should have a right to go to our ancestors graves or a place to reflect and think of them, or people like them. This is a basic right of all humans. Many times we do more for our pets who have gone beyond than we do for our ancestors. Please provide a decent gravesite or memorial for these dear souls. Thank you!
Edwardsburg, MI
Tue 4/16/2002 9:44 PM

This monument should be small and unobtrusive in size and nature. Less is more and it should not inflict itself upon the surrounding natural beauty.
Chesapeake, VA
Thu 4/11/2002 1:42 PM

Everyone needs to think of the people - white black purple or green. No matter what the color, everyone deserves the same respect. I think it will be great to get the monument. Keep it going.
Kernersville, NC
Sun 4/7/2002 12:20 AM

I think is is horrible that these dear people who worked so hard without benefit of freedom or human rights, should be forgotten.. Please see that some sort of recognition is given to these vanished graves.
Pulaski, VA
Thu 4/4/2002 12:08 PM

Please respect all people as you you would your own family. Thank you.
Goshen, IN
Fri 3/29/2002 7:29 AM

I hope to be traveling through the Blue Ridge Mountains on a motorcycle trip this summer. In my research of the area, I came across this article. I very much look forward to seeing this area and am encouraged that a monument may be there to identify the site. Thanks for all that you do!
Durango, CO
Tue 3/12/2002 11:13 PM

As someone who enjoys history, we as a nation have already lost a lot of our history.
Fort Plain, NY
Thu 2/21/2002 5:03 PM

I believe that the removed gravestones should be replaced and a monument be erected.
Waynesboro, VA
Thu 2/21/2002 1:03 AM

Every grave that someone knows about along this route should be marked and cared for. This could be us someday!
Mount Airy, NC
Sun 2/17/2002 9:25 PM

I would also encourage literature to be provided by the Park Service on history of the Slave Meadow.
Eugene, OR
Sat 2/9/2002 10:29 PM

Surely, the removal was necessary for construction, but the stones must be returned or another stone erected in order that these human beings will be acknowledged, whether they were black or any other race. This desecration cannot be tolerated.
Elkton, VA
Sun 1/20/2002 5:53 PM

I visited the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway last year. I think it is right and proper to restore the gravestones to their original sites. I will be waiting with interest to see when this endeavor begins.
Manville, RI
Sat 12/29/2001 10:15 PM

I look forward to the day when I can drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains and see something that would properly commemorate those African-Americans who came before us.
Washington, DC
Thu 12/13/2001 10:41 AM

If a single monument is erected, it should have the known names of those buried there inscribed on the monument along with dates of birth and death, if known. This is vital to subsequent generations who are, possibly now, attempting to find information about their ancestors.
Beckley, WV
11/29/2001 12:54 PM

Virginia is my birth state and I would like in some small way to be able to acknowledge those people who came before, not by their own choosing, and who helped to create the beautiful place that it is today.
Grosse Pointe Park, MI
Fri 10/26/2001 5:02 PM

I always thought that to remove or in any other way deface a grave was a barbaric gesture. Altho' it's hindsight now, those stones should have been left where they were and worked around. Please keep this in mind if you ever have to deal with another "final resting place".
Thank You.
Gettysburg, PA
Wed 10/24/2001 10:04 PM

I think this is an excellent idea.
Waldorf, MD
Fri 10/19/2001 2:14 PM

I grew up on a farm in Pittsylvania County south of Gretna, Virginia. In my childhood (I am now 74) my father pointed out a graveyard on the family farm belonging to black families nearby- he said there were former slaves buried there. Last time I visited the graveyard the wooden markers had given away to the years and the weather. No recent burials have been seen there.

Aiken, SC
Wed 10/17/2001 10:41 PM

Please give them the respect that they should have been given when they lived. Give honor to their existence, and dignity to their death, and thanks for their contribution. They were so terribly wronged in their lives. Please make this effort to make it up to them, and acknowledge their value and goodness.
Lorain, OH
Tue 10/9/2001 3:09 AM

I think they should replace each gravestone and in addition erect a single monument to acknowledge and commemorate the countless slaves and black Americans who contributed to the settlement of the Blue ridge mountains. All through history people who have settle different parts of the USA have been recognized. This i part of the heritage of our country. Everyone deserves to be remember for their contributions to our country.
Vanceboro, NC
Sat 10/6/2001 10:09 AM

While attempting to plan my vacation I happened upon the website for The Slave Meadow and found it quite uplifting. I hope that your time and effort will be met with much appreciation and success.
History is where we find stories of trials, tribulations and success. Although slavery was one of this countries negatives, it is an excellent way to show children how African Americans have overcome and where they have played a great part in the making of this nation. Without the stones that mark these graves and an appropriate marker we will lose a part of our heritage that these slaves paid a great price for.

Please let me know if there has been any new information concerning this matter and keep me posted either by email or by updating The Slave Meadow site.

Thank you,
M. Ford
Sun 9/9/2001 12:56 PM

Although I live in N.C. my father grew up in Meadows of Dan and I visit there often, my Father loved the people there, the beauty of the land, and he love the history of the mountains and most of all the history of the people that live there and so do I.
I roam the old cemeteries and home places every time I visit and learn all the history I can about my people and others that that have made Patrick County the unique place it is.

I do without question think some sort of marker or monument should be put up at the site where the slaves were buried and at the expense of the National Park Service, they removed, they SHOULD replace.
All along the Parkway families were removed and displaced from a land that they loved and a life they knew whether they wanted to go or not, most did not!

I think that is one thing the Park Service could make right with little effort. A lot of folks come back to those mountains to find lost families and family history, grave markers are a big part of that search and I would think very much so for African-Americans whose family history for some is all but impossible to find because of slavery.

Winston-Salem, NC
Sun 9/9/2001 12:54 AM

I believe if these were headstones of white persons they would have been replaced when the Parkway was complete. Lets get this done now not later.
Xenia, OH
Tue 9/4/2001 2:13 AM

I own a cabin only 5 miles from Meadows of Dan and have been a regular visitor to the area all of my life, and I've never heard of this and that's a shame. Please do the right thing by these folks and mark these graves.
Greensboro, NC
Wed 8/29/2001 9:01 AM

I have traveled the pkwy numerous times and have discovered a lot about it. When I learned about the headstones of the slaves that were moved to make way for construction and not replaced, it saddened me. I sincerely hope that you will rectify this indignity by replacing the headstones and restoring the heritage of the slaves and the honor of the pkwy.
Charlotte, NC
8/25/2001 8:02 AM

What is the status of this and how much money is needed? Please let me know. How can private parties get involved?
Washington, DC
Wed 8/22/2001 11:53 PM

I visited this slave burial place in early 1990 with Bob Heafner but could not find any other interest in this project. If there is anyway that I can help please feel free to e-mail.
Wytheville, VA
Fri 7/13/2001 11:48 PM

A shame it would be to loose this little part of history! These slaves worked hard, just as my ggg grandparents did to make this land livable! I say put the stones back as well as a monument to their memory!
Aransas Pass, TX
Fri 7/13/2001 11:36 AM

I'd like to show my support in remembering the slaves along the Blue Ridge by erecting a single monument.
I think it is important that these individuals be remembered for all of their contributions and that future generations will also be aware of the complete history of the Blue Ridge. It is important that we keep America's history intact by acknowledging the slave graves with a monument. By not erecting a monument to these slaves we will be erasing a part of history. They were a part of the Blue Ridge's fiber as early pioneers.
Germantown, MD
Tue 7/10/2001 1:07 PM

I unequivocally express my support for the National Park Service to restore the gravestones removed from the Slave Meadow at Meadows of Dan, Virginia, during construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway over 60 years ago. However, I believe it would be more appropriate and, perhaps, more cost effective, to erect a single monument in this meadow to commemorate and acknowledge, not only the known slaves, but also the countless unknown slaves who contributed to the settlement of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Washington, DC
7/8/2001 12:36 AM

Because the Park Service did not replace the grave makers, I feel that the Park Service should have a sense of responsibly in replacing the markers. Please, help to make these a reality, so that future generations regardless of color can appreciate the contribution of these people.
Gaithersburg, MD
Mon 7/2/2001 11:01 AM