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Introduction

My name is Dr. Leah Richier; I graduated from Agnes Scott College with a Bachelor of Arts in 2005 and a Doctorate in History at the University of Georgia in 2017. After being a Visiting Assistant Professor of Civil War History at Washington and Lee University, I am currently a Digital Humanities Fellow at the University of Georgia and working on my first book on the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum.

I study marginalized people and places, particularly the dead and those considered disabled. I have a few ongoing digital & digitized side projects, including Buried Here, a collection of unusual & unexpected gravesites and biographies of the dead, buried throughout the United States and the world; Lost Cause Damage, a series of individual and family portraits of Southerners, of all sexes, races, and religions, who have had their legacies altered by Lost Cause mythology; and Domestic Tragedy, a slowly building database of murder-suicides across the length of the 19th century.

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Buried Here: Leonard Matlovich (1988)

Leonard Matlovich was a Vietnam War
veteran, with three tours of duty. He was wounded in combat while overseas. After his return to the U.S., he became a 1970s LGBTQ icon. He died of complications from HIV/AIDS in 1988. His gravestone reads: “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”

“I believe that we must be the same activists in our deaths that we were in our lives.” – Leonard Matlovich, The Advocate, June 23, 1987

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1862: Drop All the Old Affray

If you want to save anything to remember me by, keep that spotted calf and if i ever return i want you to let me have her again… I want to drop all old affray and I want you to do the same and when i come home we will be good friends as ever. Good-by for the present.

– Sarah Rosetta Wakeman (1843-1864), who served two years in the U.S. Army in the American Civil War under the assumed male name/identity of Lyons Wakeman. In June 1864, she died of infectious disease and was buried in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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1865: Charleston Ruins

Circular Church at 150 Meeting Street in Charleston, South Carolina.

Two photographs of the same spot, but one includes emancipated African-American children (left) and the other is deliberately devoid of people (right).

Source: The Library of Congress.

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