The traditions found in the burial customs in rural Southern cemeteries are varied. There is a crossover of ethnic and religious backgrounds found often in the same cemetery. Customs such as “scraping” the earth is still found in many
The tradition of removing all grass from the cemetery and leaving only the bare earth is falling by the wayside in many
Another custom that seems to go along with the “scraping” of graveyards is the one of adding rocks, pebbles, ornaments, glass shards, and other items to a loved one’s grave.
In the little cemetery beside my childhood home in
I will now be more observant and record with my camera the graves that are cared for in this manner.
According to Mr. Jordan the origins of most of our traditions in Southern Folk cemeteries are too ancient to even be in our memory. But he believes archival evidence points to the West African slave coast. There were bare-earth cemeteries found there that were nearly the same as those you find here in the South. He also states that the "barren" graveyard could have spread to Texas through Moorish Spain and Mexico as the majority of traditional Mexican cemeteries are without grass.
All photographs taken by Judy Richards Shubert
Accessed from North Richland Hills Public Library, December 2008