Documenting a Historic African American Cemetery in Faulkner County, Arkansas
February 1, 2022
Early in 2021, the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s Winthrop Rockefeller Institute Research Station set out to map the Ida Bell Cemetery - a historic African American cemetery in Faulkner County. The station had been contacted about this cemetery in the past, and even made efforts to clean up the cemetery to allow for total station mapping, but was never able to map the site in detail due to its extremely overgrown nature. Luckily, with modern mapping technology now available to the Arkansas Archeological Survey, this task could finally be tackled.
With the help of Dr. Mel Zabecki and Angela Gore, Dr. Emily Beahm was able to map and photograph over 125 grave locations, identified either by the presence of field stones, obvious depressions from sunken graves, or formal grave stones. The locations and images were used to create an interactive map of the cemetery. A StoryMap was created incorporating this interactive map along with additional information about cemetery symbolism and the individuals buried at Ida Bell cemetery. Much more can be learned about the history and the people of this significance place. Additional documentary research coupled with oral history research would paint a more complete picture about what life was like for those buried at Ida Bell.
To learn more about this significant piece of Faulkner County history, please view the StoryMap created by Dr. Beahm here: https://arcg.is/1euj4e