[image-1] The remains of 36 African descendants that were found during the 2013 construction of the Gaillard Center in downtown Charleston will be reinterred in a ceremony Saturday morning.
The burial will be hosted by the College of Charleston’s African American Studies program and the Gullah Society, a Mt. Pleasant-based nonprofit that promotes the preservation of African and African American burial grounds founded by CofC adjunct professor Ade Ajani Ofunniyin.
Starting at 10:30 a.m., the remains will be transported by horse-drawn carriage from Barnet Garden at 58 George St. to a reburial site at George and Anson streets, where the Gilliard Center is located.
The procession will be led by Fielding Home for Funerals. Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and state Rep. Wendell Gilliard will be in attendance.
A celebration is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. followed by dance and music on the Gaillard lawn at 3 p.m. Artwork will be exhibited at the Civic Design Center.
The City of Charleston awarded the Gullah Society a $25,000 contract in March 2018 to consult on the reinterment, according to the Post and Courier. The Gaillard Center site was never marked as a burial ground, and forensic tests found that the 36 remains likely belonged to African slaves who died between 1760 and 1800.
In May 2018, Theodore Schurr and Raquel Fleskes from the University of Pennsylvania collected bone samples from the 36 individuals, along with 30 DNA samples from living people of African descent, according to the Gullah Society. Further DNA samples were collected from living people in September 2018.
“The results of the analysis of modern DNA variation will provide an initial view of genetic diversity in Charleston that can be compared with that obtained from the Anson Street burials and will allow community members to learn about their genetic ancestry,” according to the Society’s website.
Twenty-eight adults and six children were identified among those buried, along with 11 females and 18 males.