All cultures and racial groups practice different methods in how they deal with their departed and love ones when they pass away.
The excellent book by Ray Bradbury, "The Halloween Tree", is a beautiful story of eight best friends trying to save the life of their other friend, who they will help decide if he lives or dies:
"Through the help of a mysterious character named Moundshroud, they pursue their friend across time and space through ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures, Celtic Druidism, Notre Dame Cathedral in Medieval Paris, and The Day of the Dead in Mexico. Along the way, they learn the origins of the holiday that they celebrate, and the role that the fear of death has played in shaping civilization."One culture that is excluded in this story is that of Black people on their home continent of Africa, or in other nations where they have propagated. For this obvious error on Bradbury's part, this entry will help educate people on the practices of Black people and the dead.
Whereas the Egyptians mummified their Pharaoh's and the Greeks and Romans - and Norseman of the Northern Europe - would burn their leaders and warriors in a funeral pyre, Black people in Africa have a unique and beautiful tradition:
"Many African peoples have a custom of removing a dead body through a hole in the wall of a house, and not through the door. The reason for this seems to be that this will make it difficult (or even impossible) for the dead person to remember the way back to the living, as the hole in the wall is immediately closed. Sometimes the corpse is removed feet first, symbolically pointing away from the former place of residence. A zigzag path may be taken to the burial site, or thorns strewn along the way, or a barrier erected at the grave itself because the dead are also believed to strengthen the living."The idea that those who came before you will grant you strength and valor is poetry and beautiful, but this wonderful practice is not as commonplace in the United States and with Black people after death.
Tommy Marsh, a Black businessman, opened a Tri-State Crematorium to service Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee funeral homes. His company flourished, until it was discovered in 2002 that:
This story is punctuated with the recent discovery of an even more macabre horror. Four Black employees at The Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois, were arrested for:
"On February 15, 2002, investigators stumbled onto a grisly scene: Piles of rotting human bodies were discovered in a storage shed, in vaults and throughout the property. Between 1996 and the date of the discovery, over 2000 bodies were sent to Tri-State and officials during their criminal investigation discovered 339 uncremated bodies.It was later discovered that a propane delivery truck driver had complained on at least two occasions to the Walker County Sheriff's Department about seeing bodies on the Marsh property. The driver made a fuel delivery and called police.... A federal disaster team was brought into the area along with a portable morgue shipped from Maryland. The team began the process of trying to identify the remains, a process made difficult since many of the corpses were in advanced stages of decomposition. Some were little more than skeletons...It was discovered that sometime after Ray Brent Marsh took over the business, he apparently had issues in performing cremations."
"...digging up bodies and reselling plots at a historic black cemetery near Chicago made about $300,000 in a scheme believed to have stretched back at least four years...Three gravediggers and a manager at the Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip are accused of unearthing hundreds of corpses and either dumping some in a weeded, desolate area near the cemetery or double-stacking others in graves. The cemetery is the burial place of civil rights-era lynching victim Emmett Till and blues singers Willie Dixon and Dinah Washington...The suspects, all of whom are black, were identified as Carolyn Towns, 49, Keith Nicks, 45, and Terrence Nicks, 39-all of Chicago-and Maurice Dailey, 61, of Robbins."The loved ones of hundreds of deceased Black people are now furious at the horrific acts of undead callousness toward this historic Black cemetery and those who are entombed there. The body of a patron saint of the Civil Rights movement Emmett Till was buried there and to dishonor such a hero in the Black community is grounds for excommunication.
It is important to remember that reverence for the dead is integral to all racial groups, but that Stuff Black People Don't Like has the early stages of welcoming this unfortunate indifference and apathy into its ranks. If Black people can sell the rights to a Historically Black cemetery for a few hundred thousand dollars, then Black people have no reverence for their dead.