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WFDigitalHistoryArchive: African American Funeral Programs Collection

Black History is American History

We are excited to announce we have scanned and cataloged the first additions to our African American Funeral Programs Collection, which is part of the larger West Feliciana Digital History Archive. The collection currently contains 87 funeral programs of individuals with ties to West Feliciana Parish. Our starting collection was shared with you by Mr. Calvin Miller, and we are now inviting, YOU, our community, to add to this collection by preserving the funeral programs of family and friends that have come and gone before you.

African American Funeral Programs provide extensive genealogical information about the deceased including birth and death dates, maiden names, names of relatives and friends, and place of burial. In addition to genealogical information about the deceased, the documents may also contain employment information, educational history, church memberships, professional affiliations, and personal and professional accomplishments. This data can otherwise be hard to find, particularly for marginalized populations. The records of many in these communities were often either destroyed, kept in private hands, or never created in the first place. These documents are both a glimpse into the life of the individual represented, but also the history of the African American community as a whole.

If programs are not preserved, the information that they contain may be lost to history. This collection provides access to valuable genealogical resources for current and future generations and documents the history and contributions of the African American community in the Felicianas.

We are currently focusing on older funeral programs as these contain information that may not be found elsewhere. If you have a collection of funeral programs you would like preserved, please contact Stacie Davis, Library Director, at (225) 245-3753 (voice/text). If you are passionate about history and would like to partner with us on this project or volunteer to scan, please let us know.

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