freely breathe


near the Dismal Swamp Canal
hand dug by slaves
a tiny graveyard
located in a small area
called Deep Creek
behind a trailer park
the Little Branch Trail Cemetery
better known as  …..
the Barnes-Culpepper
Family Cemetery
Barnes was born in Pennsylvania
and married a Culpepper
named Susie
who both were friends
with my muse RLF’s
mother’s parents
they too are buried there
behind the Barnes
and next to the man
noted on his head stone
to had fired the first shot
in World War I from a ship
even though
the Culpepper family in the past
did own slaves   ~
James Henry Culpepper
buried there
~   his father’s father
is listed in the census
as  the owner of slaves
no one ….    as far as my research
buried in this graveyard
had slaves
those buried there
were decent and hardworking people
~    however
this is a place
where history is revealed
can freely breathe out
its remembrance
from its head stones
the story beneath Culpepper Landing
life blossoming into
present day community
on Robert Frost Rd
without restriction
no bondage to chains and enslavement
concealed and imprisoned
buried under pavement for years
like the African Ancestral
Burial Ground
next to Lumpkin’s Jail for slaves
a holy and sacred ground
by the First African Baptist Church
the gathering point
for African-Americans
while enduring slavery
in Richmond
prior to the Civil War
where the memory of those
entombed there
that “24 year old blacksmith
named Gabriel
aroused with
the spiritual vision
that in the eyes
of the creator
all people
despite color of skin
are a part of
The Human Race
equal with
every kind of
man and woman”

such vision
is now coming to light
to freely breathe
nurture enlightenment
and acceptance
for past transgressions
by all concerned
then lead to healing
and cooperative progression
beneficial to all the people
after he was hung
so long ago at the gallows
along what is now known
as the Slave Trail   ~

peace out

Image & Words by   ~Keith Alan Hamilton~

Dedicated to the preservation of African-American artifacts in the areas of Shockoe Bottom, Deep Creek & the burial grounds of Portsmouth, VA. May this bring remembrance, acceptance, healing and the cooperative progression of THE HUMAN RACE.

This Image with Words will be a part of my Slavery in America Image with Words Collection – Virginia Edition now exhibited in The Urban Individualist Artist Collective, Gallery #219 at Art Works In Richmond, VA.

All Words & Images Copyright © 1999-2021 - Keith Alan Hamilton - All rights reserved.