Sunday, June 1, 2014

Segregation Persists – Even in Cemeteries


Posted by Debby Yoder, MARIETTA, GA -- Just north of Atlanta is the beautiful Marietta National Cemetery with rolling hills and symmetrical headstones. There are monuments of tribute and a large archway at the entrance. More than 10,000, mostly soldiers, are buried there. They served in every arena from the Revolutionary War to recent conflicts in the Middle East. While the cemetery seems long established, you still find families grieving their losses. 

It was originally envisioned as the resting place for both Union and Confederate soldiers after the Civil War, with the idea that the dead buried together would help the living learn to live together. Southerners would have no part of it and created a Confederate Cemetery about a mile away. Locals say there was once a row of trees planted to block the sight of the “Yankee cemetery.” For many years, the National Cemetery was well-maintained while the Confederate Cemetery went unkempt and without repair. The original markers were made of wood and deteriorated long ago. Recent years have seen an interest in the cemetery’s improvement and a new plaza and several statues have been erected. They celebrate Confederate Memorial Day each April and tried to start a wreath-laying tradition in December, holidays that mirror those celebrated a mile away at the National Cemetery. 150 years later, some things have not changed.

Debby Yoder is a contributor to Social Shutter as well as a Sociology Major at Georgia State University. She can be reached at

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