Slave Cemetery

During the antebellum period, enslaved African Americans were often buried on plantations, commemorated by un-inscribed locally available fieldstones. The largest slave cemetery at Sweet Briar, the Sweet Briar Plantation Burial Ground, contains over 50 gravestones. These stones mark the final resting place of several dozen individuals. Efforts are on-going to preserve and protect this sacred site.


In 2003 the college rededicated the cemetery and erected a marker which read: "Sacred Resting Place of Unknown Founders Who Labored to Build What Has Become Sweet Briar College We are in Their Debt." Many of the sixty burial sites discovered here are marked by fieldstones. Slaves in Virginia were prevented by law from learning to read and write; therefore, it is not surprising that none of the stones in this cemetery contain inscriptions.

The map at the left indicates the distribution of gravestones and unmarked depressions.