Perhaps you are familiar with Bedford’s landmarks. You have visited the Bedford Flag, skated on Fawn Lake, and walked the old railroad beds. But now – would you know where in Bedford to look for the African Reservation?
You’ll find it is a part of the Old Burying Ground, which lies in Bedford Center on Springs Road. Walk to the far northeast corner of the graveyard, until you get to a low knoll. You’ll see a small sign, “African Reservation.” This is the place where most of our town’s Black residents of the 18th and 19th centuries were buried when they died.
There’s only one gravestone. It marks three burials. The stone and its plaque were placed there to honor three Black Revolutionary War soldiers: Caesar Jones, Caesar Prescott, and Cambridge Moore. It is not clear from passing by, but many more people are buried below this thin grass. Over the first decades of the town, at least thirty people of color lived in Bedford. But you would have to pour over the old Town records to find their names. Quimby… Abraham… Dinah… What were your stories? Fleetingly, we hold you in our minds; anonymous, you remain after we leave, separate in the African Reservation.