Where Freedom Park in Fox Hill, Nassau, sits today, there once was a historically significant burial place. In 1967, new history was made of this area where, it can surely be said, was the final resting place of old Africans and their descendants.
The old gives way to the new 1967
History is difficult to maintain in the face of change and modernity. History requires space and determined attention. The year 1967 was the beginning of a push towards a modern Bahamas and a new definition of what it meant to be Bahamian. A new history was being forged.
A large part of forming a post Majority Rule legacy was creating new symbols to commemorate political change. This was envisioned as also honouring black Bahamian history. One of these symbols was Freedom Park in Fox Hill.
Losing important history in burying a cemetery
In 1967, interest in Bahamian ancestral lineages hadn’t really begun yet. Most of this information, oddly enough, sat in old cemeteries.
Interest in black ancestral lineage really took off with the publishing of Alex Haley’s Roots: The Saga of an American Family in 1976, in which Haley sought to trace his ancestral line from Africa to America.
For many in the historically significant Fox Hill, or once called Sandilands area, their historical beginnings lie in a then buried and forgotten negro cemetery.
Cemeteries remain one of the most important and valuable historical resources. Cemeteries are reminders of settlement patterns, important personalities and of course, genealogy. Every tombstone is a note waiting to be entered on some ancestral timeline.