So I cut off I-295 and descended into the depths of Camden. I drove under the PATCO High Speed Line railroad bridge near Mt. Ephraim Avenue and Mt. Vernon streets (a block from the cemetery), and slowed down to dodge potholes and hookers. I get the smile and wave from one of the latter. Ah, Camden. I pull up in front of the inner-city cemetery as ambulances rush by and a commuter train thunders overhead. Another woman is walking up the sidewalk toward me. I get my camera gear out of the trunk and head into the abandoned graveyard where she is sure not to follow. I think there must be an ordinance in Camden that prohibits a prostitute from propositioning you on consecrated ground. So she just leans on the fence and calls out to me. Responding politely in the negative, I went about photographing tombstones and she strolled away. This has happened to me before at other Camden cemeteries. Everyone needs a livelihood and I know this is an economically depressed area, but it’s still a bit weird.
"Adding a touch of the macabre are collections of plastic grocery bags filled with headless, mutilated chickens in full feather. At the center of one cluster of graves near a large tree was a two-foot-wide hole dug nearly three feet deep -- for reasons one can only guess at." (ref)
|"United States Colored Troops"|
"Like the very existence of the unit in which Painter served, the existence of his grave in this cemetery commemorates a pivotal point of cultural change in America. The large-scale recruitment, training and arming of free men of color and former slaves as a cohesive African-American battlefield force marked a watershed in both the racial and military history of the United States. Similarly, the distinguished service of U.S.C.T. veterans caused some communities to rethink their racially peculiar burial prohibitions. For instance, Pvt. Painter was laid to rest in a cemetery that, prior to the Civil War, legally barred the interment of blacks or the transfer of plot ownership from a white person to a black person." - Hoag & Sandy Levins