Thursday, September 24, 2015

Monumental Magnolia Cemetery Field Trip!

The temperatures and bug activity were fairly moderate on Sept. 21 for our highly anticipated (by me anyway!) visit to Magnolia Cemetery, as part of the "Beyond the Grave" First Year Experience course I am teaching this fall.



Big thanks to the FYE program, especially director Chris Korey, for arranging a bus to take us to and from. I also appreciate my 20 students, all freshmen, showing up a little early so we could maximize the limited daylight for this evening tour. CofC senior Matt Privette, the course's peer facilitator, also came along and took this group shot at the unique Parker exedra monument (circa 1915).
Here's the shot I took with Matt Privette in it (he's back row, right side) 
We covered a wide swath of Magnolia's 150 acres in less than 90 minutes. I may have rushed the students, but there was so much I wanted to show them. After all, I've written two books about this place, so it's very special to me. 
Students navigate through two of the cemetery's many impressive 19th century creations: the Birt Monument (circa 1889
in the background) and the Jennings Monument, made of zinc (1884, forefront).
The Receiving Tomb kept caskets and the departed they held safe until the monuments and memorial sites were completed.
Magnolia Cemetery's park-like design is very walker-friendly.
We also visited the small Emanuel AME Church graveyard across the street from Magnolia. Three of the June 17, 2015
Charleston massacre victims are interred here, including 26-year-old Tywanza Sanders.

Thanks to Lancaster Tours for the nice bus transportation. Finally, a big thank you to Magnolia Cemetery Superintendent Beverly Donald for allowing us this after-hours access. 

I hope to bring the class back to Magnolia Cemetery on Oct. 10 for the annual Confederate Ghost Walk.


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