Group Hopes to Bring some Light to Dark Period in State's History

SEARCY, AR - In remote cemeteries off lonely Arkansas highways, slaves who once toiled under the command of white owners rest in unmarked graves hidden among hardwoods and covered with brush.  Little is known about the 111,115 slaves who lived in Arkansas before the Civil War, even though they made up a quarter of the state's population.  In Arkansas and elsewhere in the country, there is no single repository of research or listings of slave cemeteries.

In White County, the Historical Society wants to bring greater respect in death to a people who did not get basic consideration in life.  History enthusiasts are hopeful they can piece together the scant evidence of a slave's life, at the end, in the cemeteries.

The White County Historical Society has been working for years to identify where people in the county are buried, including those who were slaves more than 150 years ago.

The group has identified five cemeteries where the society believes slaves are buried and 44 cemeteries where they might be interred.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)