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Love Cemetery: Unburying the Secret History of Slaves
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Love Cemetery: Unburying the Secret History of Slaves

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  96 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
By the eve of the Civil War, there were four million slaves in North America, and Harrison County was the largest slave-owning county in Texas. So when China Galland returned to research her family history there, it should not have surprised her to learn of unmarked cemeteries for slaves. "My daddy never let anybody plow this end of the field," a local matron told a startl ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published June 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 291)
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Carol
Sep 21, 2014 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a troubling book to review. As others reviewers have observed, the history that the author uncovers is so important to her and to all of us. Yet her writing style often gets in the way with awkward sentences that I needed to reread and chronology problems that sent me thumbing around. Yet as she delved into her relationships with the African-American community with whom she was working, she opened what may be the most powerful part of the book. Love Cemetery became a metaphor for our rac ...more
True
Oct 18, 2012 True rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the Lady my friend China Galland. Along with the people in this town. SAVED HISTORY. Restored the souls of some buried in a cemetery probably not getting their final rest. Love this! anytime someone runs up on HISTORY and saves it and shares it with the World. Thank Goodness for her.
Bishop Bergland
Apr 22, 2015 Bishop Bergland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must say, first and foremost, that I disagree with the reviews here that are critical of the author's writing style and wonder what they reviewers expect. When dealing with an emotionally charged subject, and when writing about relationships built and shared around such profoundly deep and painful history, a clinical and detached presentation would be a lie. This is my second China Galland book, but not my last. I appreciate that she relates her experience and her emotional reactions to the si ...more
Lissa
This wasn't the book that I thought it was going to be when I read the back cover. I was expecting more of a historical exploration of freed slaves in Texas, or perhaps how their descendants were faring, or...something like that. Instead, I got a memoir that really should have been condensed into a few-page article, to be honest.

The author hops around everywhere - her own history, antebellum Texas, the Jim Crow laws, land deeds, land theft, the people buried there, their descendants, and her own
...more
Margo Brooks
My reaction to this book was complicated and needed some time to absorb. It is not the straight forward account of the restoration of a cemetery, but rather a nuanced and personal account of how history lingers and is alive in people's perception of the present. In Texas, the history of white oppression of blacks after reconstruction is sad and scarey--especially for a white girl from the Northeast who knew very little. It was even more horrifying for the author, who suspected that her own ances ...more
Hedgebrook
PUBLISHER COMMENTS:
By the eve of the Civil War, there were four million slaves in North America, and Harrison County was the largest slave-owning county in Texas. So when China Galland returned to research her family history there, it should not have surprised her to learn of unmarked cemeteries for slaves. "My daddy never let anybody plow this end of the field," a local matron told a startled Galland during a visit to her antebellum mansion. "The slaves are buried there." Galland's subsequent e
...more
Paige Cordial
Jan 05, 2014 Paige Cordial rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Paige by: bell hooks
Although the writing style used in this book was not my favorite (it was sometimes repetitive and at times the author seemed to share too many details of her thought processes/emotional experiences), overall it was a fascinating read. I learned a lot about the debt peonage and land theft that was a huge part of the African American experience in the post reconstruction South. In addition, the author's candid writing about the emotional turmoil involved in racial reconciliation and cross race fri ...more
Anastasia
This book has such an interesting premise, and it was such a disappointing read. The author should have taken a more objective role in telling the story of how there are cemeteries that hold the remains of enslaved people and African Americans, and which are unmarked and, in some cases, almost hidden. In many cases, the descendants don't have access to these cemeteries, even though the law generally gives them that right. Instead of telling this fascinating story and allowing people to learn mor ...more
Lwf
Jun 09, 2011 Lwf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first ebook from the library. After reading, "The Help," I wanted to learn more about African Americans in America. This book is about the old Love Cemetery that was overgrown with wild Wysteria, weeds and trees and very few family members remembered or had ever seen the cemetery. The family ancestors and volunteers are trying to restore the cemetery so the stones can be found and visited. Have found out that a white "owner" had probably given the family the land to bury their loved ones. Ver ...more
Brenda
Jun 06, 2016 Brenda rated it it was ok
This book could have been excellent. I would have loved to know more about the cemetery, the people buried there, the history of their lives and about the people who worked to save the cemetery. However, it was basically the tedious story of the author's struggle with her white guilt, interrupted by long, boring passages describing church services, songs and prayers...as my friend says "it went Christian".
The book starts with a story that grabs you and makes you want to know more, but that is n
...more
HeavyReader
Aug 19, 2008 HeavyReader rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in slavery in the United States
Shelves: history
The author of this book did a really good job of tying together the history of a specific cemetery in Eastern Texas to the history of slavery in the state of Texas and the history of her family and her place in it. It was easy to read, although a list of slaves (including children) and the dollar amount they were worth brought me to tears.

There was quite a bit of religion in this book too, which was difficult for me to stomach, although I do understand at least some of the connections between Af
...more
Nancy
Nov 22, 2015 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to love this book. I certainly learned a lot. I even cried a bit. My problem was with the ending. It just fizzled out. Still worth reading.
Margaret Sankey
This is a strong, cautionary tale about history, descendents, memory and property--China Galland discovered that the corner of a farmers' field in Texas was a slave cemetery of unmarked graves and became determined to restore it. She gives the history of slavery in Texas, and is surprised when this open wound rebounds on her as the private property owner gets in the middle, the descendents of slaves get involved, the county authorities are tangled in regulations and there are many people who jus ...more
Camellia
Jan 08, 2016 Camellia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent book by China Galland.
Nakeesha
It's an interesting story and uncovered a portion of history I wasn't very familiar with, but it's a bit raw. Some editing would have done the book wonders. The writer tends to re-use phrases or repeat herself quite a bit. I ended up getting deja-vu about every other page...and not in a good way. If you leave out all the phrases that should have been marked out and ignore some weird tangents and jumps, it's a decent read. Could have been great. The Publisher's Weekly review was dead-on "fresh if ...more
Lora
Sep 26, 2013 Lora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition


I enjoyed this book. At first it kind of reminded me of The Help --a white woman telling a story of African American history. I liked that this was not a fictional account and that it was about saving a cemetery. As a photographer, I have spent many hours in cemeteries and it is distressing that African American cemeteries are left to become overgrown and neglected. Not a deep read, but an interesting story.
Calli
Jun 30, 2007 Calli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2007iniowa
Interesting bits of history sprinkled into this rather boring narrative of author's quest to document the saving of Love Cemetery. Historical perspective: good, eye opening, not boring. The rest of it, I admit, I ended up skimming through after getting about half way read.
Donna
Apr 17, 2010 Donna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cemetery
book was different than i thought. started out interesting, but quickly became like a teenagers journal about the rift between china (white) and doris (black) and china's continuing apologies about any and all possible racist comments she may or may not have made.
Mavis Jones
Jan 08, 2012 Mavis Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being of African American descent as well as a family researcher / genealogist, the story and difficulties of Love Cemetery both touched and troubled me. There are so many more cemeteries like this. In fact, my great grandfather is interred in one.
Kristen
I read this at my family reunion in the place my family's gathered for 60 years. Its theme of remembering ancestors and connecting to their places matched the occasion so well...
Kathie
Feb 12, 2015 Kathie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Genealogists, Black History scholars
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed this book, although I feel that the author's ending was a little rushed. I would like to know what happened after the book ends.
Naomi
Nov 22, 2012 Naomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
China Galland describes her experiences in a work of love, care, and racial reconciliation in East Texas.
Erica
Feb 24, 2014 Erica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing piece of American history.
Ingrid Grant
May 08, 2008 Ingrid Grant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good
Alan
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Sep 24, 2016
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Andrea rated it liked it
Sep 06, 2016
Vir Almirón
Vir Almirón marked it as to-read
Sep 01, 2016
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Aug 29, 2016
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Melinda rated it really liked it
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