Francisco Mendoza, Laura Bullard, Andrew Pemberton, Dr. David Sheffler
Dr. David Sheffler | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of History
This age of booming technological advancement has brought a breadth of new opportunities for understanding and documenting history, from digital mapping to database-building capabilities unrivaled in past historical efforts, opportunities which the research team behind the Red Hill Cemetery Project are utilizing in the effort to develop a virtual cemetery. The research team, in cooperation with the Okefenokee Heritage Center and the community of Waycross, seek to develop a scholarly understanding, grounded in consideration of the community and its history, of the oldest African-American cemetery in Waycross, Georgia. The physical cemetery, now overgrown and suffering from decades-long neglect and vandalism, holds an estimated 2000 burials. The team is focused on four projects. First, developing an application for inclusion of the cemetery on the National Register of Historic Places. Second, using innovative photographic and mapping technologies to build an accessible interactive map of the physical conditions of Red Hill Cemetery, the research will culminate in the digital reconstruction of the original cemetery layout. Third, the development of a public biographical database that includes all identifiable individuals buried at Red Hill. Fourth, the team will collect, transcribe, and publish oral histories of the site and the larger Waycross African American Community, aiming to preserve the voices of Waycross before they are irretrievably lost.