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Rainville’s Hidden History presents a well-written, engaging, and at times truly revelatory study. Her careful research was conducted over a span of several years, which allows her observations to go beyond the superficial and the obvious. With a focus on local contexts, but deriving universal insights into history, heritage, memory, and preservation, Rainville’s work is an exemplar of the best sort of research.(James Davidson, University of Florida)
Lynn Rainville takes us on a walking tour of African American cemeteries in central Virginia. She tells us about individual lives marked by headstones, fieldstones, and depressions in the sacred spaces where they continue to be part of a living community. She tells their stories, in slavery and freedom, while walking through their cemeteries, each of which connects individuals to families, locality, and region. Even the cemetery itself has a life defended against waves of migration and development. All of these stories are richly textured with detailed information about these sites and their communities, chosen with the eye of an academic authority who writes beautifully for everyone. Traversing these juxtapositions is Rainville’s personal twenty-year journey of encounters with these enduring yet vulnerable features on the intimate historic landscape of African America in Central Virginia.(Michael Blakey, College of William and Mary)
Lynn Rainville is Research Professor in the Humanities at Sweet Briar College, where she also serves as the Director of the Tusculum Institute.