Culture Keepers

Showcasing the “Culture Keepers” Research: Dr. Fletcher presents a preview of the oral history project on African American funeral homes

On September 23, 2022, Senior Research Consultant for Rituals in the Making, Dr. Kami Fletcher provided a brief overview of the work she and her team of four research assistants (Cat Dang Ton, James R. Morgan III, Sarah Peralta, and Pyar Seth) are currently undertaking. Her presentation, “Culture Keepers: African American Funeral Directors in the Era of COVID,” was part of the George Washington University’s Inaugural Equity Institute Initiative research showcase: “Collaborate To Create Change: Towards Racial and Socioeconomic Equity in our Scholarship, Research & Teaching.”

Dr. Fletcher presenting in the “Equity and Humanities” breakout session, September 23, 2022

Dr. Fletcher explained how the targeted oral history project will focus on death workers from Black funeral homes across seven states representing the East Coast, Midwest, and South, including the District of Columbia. The project asks the country’s oldest and newer African American funeral directors, morticians, funeral assistants, hearse operators, and funeral home office managers the specifics of the disruption brought about by the pandemic, as well as what rituals were remade because of that devastation—that is, what rituals do they see in the making?

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Collaborate To Create Change: Towards Racial and Socioeconomic Equity in our Scholarship, Research & Teaching