Charleston, S.C. (WCBD) – Saturday morning, the remains of the 36 enslaved Africans unearthed in the 2013 renovation of the Gaillard Center were returned to the site in which they were discovered at an ancestral reburial celebration.
The sound of African drumming & dance filling the Anson Street Burial Ground- as the remains from 36 Africans finally received a proper burial.
Dr. Ade Ofunniyin, Founder & Anthropologist, The Gullah Society, says, “These are our founding ancestors, so they deserve the recognition— not only from the African descendant community, but from all the people here as you see.”
Un-earthed by construction workers during the 2013 renovations of the Galliard center, the remains have been closely studied by DNA researchers partnering with a local non-profit, The Gullah Society.
Dr. Ade Ofunniyin says “The remains are children, adults, men and women. These remains, up until last week, had no identity. They were in a box and they were numbered. Last week, we had a naming ceremony that gave these individuals African names.”
Dr. Ade Ofunniyin, Founder & Anthropologist, The Gullah Society, has advocated for years for the remains to be returned to the site in which they were discovered. Today, he sees that dream realized as the remains are given a final resting place at a site directly outside of the Gaillard Center.
He says, “This is where they came from. This is where they were removed in 2013, so our goal has been, since then, to put them back where they came from, because that’s the right thing to do.”
The Gullah Society says that even though these remains have returned to their final resting place, the data collected from them will allow for DNA research to continue for years to come. They say that there is still so much to learn.