Date of Award

May 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Historic Preservation

Committee Member

Amalia Leifeste

Committee Member

Emily Ford

Committee Member

Frances H Ford

Committee Member

Barry Stiefel


The goal of this work is to provide researchers, preservationists, and historians with an in-depth look of the treatment of graves and gravesites over time by Bethel United Methodist Church and Old Bethel United Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina. This data can hopefully be used by researchers in a broader sense to understand the treatment of white and African American burials over time.

Gravestones and sites can reflect how we see people within society in the past, present, and future. Therefore, documentation of social and cultural history along with the documentation of the built environment that contains tangible artifacts such as cemeteries and gravestones is pertinent to our duty as preservations to preserve for future generations.

The preservation of the history and culture of African Americans, so often considered ordinary people to the historic record, may have been overlooked in their lifetime in terms of contributing to the historic record, but they are memorialized after their death.

This more nuanced interpretation and analysis of Bethel and Old Bethel’s cemeteries by exploring the gravesite monuments, and maintenance conditions of the cemetery, has shown intentional reflections of attitudes toward the graves of their congregation members as well as attitudes over time due to time period of activity. This, in a sense, has shown each cemetery’s style over time and a sense of identity. While they began as one, each cemetery has created an identity for itself through the acts of the congregations that are interred within its parameters.



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