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Black Funeral Celebrations
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Mary Lee Brady, Ph.D.











Cora Lee Hill Atkins was tactfully silent among fellow women about inherent African traditions of spending more money and time on funerals for the dead than enlightenment and education for youth.   For Cora, the question is how does a culture reshape priorities? She was educated enough in African history to understand that funerals and life-after-death, ... are beliefs more deeply seated in African heritage cultures than anywhere else. 

In fact, among many souls of Africa, here and over there, the souls of loved ancestors are constantly with them.  Funerals are the most intimate relationship that many folks ever have, ... even though many may profess to "walk with the Lord."  

Many cultures incorporate dances and other ceremonies as part of funeral rites. These rituals often are infused with religious symbolism, sometimes representing the spirits of the underworld, sometimes representing the passage of the deceased into the next world. Here, Dogon tribesmen from Mali perform a dance that serves as part of their funeral ritual. Hutchison Library"Funeral Dance of the Dogon," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99.

And, long before the onslaught of Black boys annually killing thousands of Black boys each years, ... she reasoned the problem to be rooted in wide-spread absences of neighborhood based civic clubs and general failures to congregate young mothers to shape the attitudes and behaviors of children. 

She speculated that what is not known, ... is does a bond between mother and child ever cease even when one life ends?  Does the spirit of Christ cement such a bond?  But, Cora was the kind of brainy woman and mother that only uttered such thoughts to minds enlightened and educated enough to ponder such thoughts about the unknown.

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