A Part of Black History


    Enslaved people were often forbidden to mark their graves.
    The tradition of the face jug arose to honor a loved one's body and protect it from evil spirits.

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    Face Jugs

    Slaves weren't allowed to have tombstones, so they put face jugs on the graves of their loved ones as grave markers. The story passed down from generation to generation said that the uglier the face, the better, because it scares the devil away and your soul can go to heaven.


    The face jug on display in the slave quarters was created by Ben Watford using the methods of the 1850s. It also evokes the Far Cemetery on the site, where freedmen's gravestones were bulldozed away, leaving hundreds of unmarked graves.

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    Ben Watford

    Ben Watford, a potter from New Bern, explains the history behind the creation of face jugs, which he describes as "a part of black history."

    Read more at: https://www.newsobserver.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article248778055.html#storylink=cpy