Vassar College Students Conduct Research at Black Cemetery

Students in the African-American history class of Quincy T. Mills at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, teamed up with students of earth science and geography on a research project at the Negro Burial Ground in Rhinebeck, New York. The students used high-tech geophysical equipment at the half-acre cemetery and determined that there were far more people buried there than grave markers indicated.

A simultaneous search of historical documents found that there was a vibrant black community in Rhinebeck in the nineteenth century, including a large colony of artisans.

Professor Mills, who joined the Vassar faculty in 2006, is a graduate of the University of Illinois. He holds an MBA from DePaul University and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. His forthcoming book is entitled Shaving Men, Grooming Race: A History of Black Barbers and Barber Shops, 1830-1970.