A celebration and burial of dead soldiers held by African-Americans on May 1, 1865 on a South Carolina burial ground was the first recorded Memorial Day, according to Yale University history professor David Blight.
Blight says many Union soldiers were buried improperly in a burial ground that once was a race track. After the Civil War ended, many blacks returned to the grounds to give the fallen soldiers proper burials.
“Blacks, many of them recently freed slaves, buried the soldiers properly. They put up a fence around the area and painted it. More than 260 were buried there. We don’t know the names. We don’t know the race,” Blight told BlackAmericaWeb.com.
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