Photo:  “The Whole black family at the Hermitage, Savannah, GA”  Courtesy: Library of Congress




The Periwinkle Initiative is a public humanities and engagement initiative dedicated to preserving the public memory and cultural heritage of enslaved Americans.  The Initiative’s core project is the National Burial Database of Enslaved Americans – which will be the first national repository to document individual burials and burial grounds of enslaved Americans.

The Periwinkle Initiative derives its name from the periwinkle flower that certain scholars believe was a common wildflower brought to grave sites of enslaved Americans. 

The most important aspect is digging for the slave’s humanity. The preservation of these sacred spaces is (necessary in order) to remember the past so that our future contemporaries will have a better understanding of American policies that supported this system of cruelty, but most importantly to remember the resilience of the human spirit.
— National Trust for Historic Preservation