One hundred years ago two overcrowded passenger trains on the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway line smashed into each other west of Nashville on a set of tracks known as Dutchman’s Curve. The head-on collision caused the deadliest train wreck in U.S. history.
One hundred one passengers and railroad workers died. Among those who died were 68 African American men and women and one child.
In 1918 all African American railroad passengers in the South were forced to ride in segregated ‘Jim Crow’ cars located directly behind the locomotive boiler, the most dangerous place on the train—the reason so many African Americans were killed in this wreck.
Twenty-eight of the African American victims were buried in Nashville at Ararat and Greenwood cemeteries. Eighteen of the victims were never identified. The unidentified were laid to rest without friends or family to mourn them. They were interred in a section of the cemetery known as
The Paupers Field. The exact location of their graves is unknown.
On July 7, in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the train wreck, Rev. Enoch Fuzz of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville will deliver a funeral sermon at a ceremony in
The Paupers Field at Mount Ararat.
The ceremony will pay homage to the African Americans who died at Dutchman’s Curve and will give the unidentified victims the send-off they didn’t receive when they were buried in unmarked graves 100 years ago.
“Everyone deserves to have a great funeral,” said Fuzz, “but these are the best of people who never had a funeral. On this day I see good people coming to pay their respect for heroes never told. Although it will be 100 years late, this one day will bring forever the remembrance of heroes both known and unknown.”
The ceremony will begin at 2:30 pm. Music will be provided by the Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church Choir. The selection of music will include the classic spiritual ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.’
The public is invited to attend, and attendees are encouraged to bring flowers.
For more information e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 615-480-4396.