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Sambo's Grave, 2007
Sambo's Grave


Sambo's Grave is the burial site of a young dark skinned cabin boy or slave, on unconsecrated ground in a field near the small village of Sunderland Pointmarker, Englandmarker, near Heyshammarker and Overtonmarker, Lancashire. Sunderland Pointmarker used to be a port, serving cotton, sugar and slave ships from the West Indiesmarker and North America.

The grave, while not a tourist attraction in itself, is a site of interest that many locals travel to see, and perhaps contemplate the sad story that brought Sambo so far from his home.

While travelling with his enslaver in 1736, Sambo died from a disease contracted from contact with Europeans, to which he had no natural immunity (although some more romanticised stories say that he died of a broken heart when his enslaver left him there). He was buried in unconsecrated ground (as he was not a Christian) on the weatherbeaten shoreline of Morecambe Baymarker. Today, the grave almost always bears flowers or stones painted by the local children.

Sunderland Pointmarker itself is a very small community, and is only accessible via a narrow road which crosses a salt marsh and is cut off at high tide.

There is a possibility of Sambo's origin being South Indian or somewhat unlikely Indo-Caribbean, mistaken by his dark skin, as Sambo, a modified form of Shambhoo is a common Hindu name as used in Little Black Sambo.

Plaque

While initially unmarked, over the years the grave has been slowly added to, and now bears a plaque that reads as follows (note the occasional use of ſ, the Long s character):

Here liesPoor SAMBOOA faithfull NEGROWho(Attending his Maſter from the Weſt Indies)DIED on his Arrival at SUNDERLAND

Full sixty Years the angry Winter's WaveHas thundering daſhd this bleak & barren ShoreSince SAMBO's Head laid in this lonely GRAVELies still & ne'er will hear their turmoil more.

Full many a Sandbird chirps upon the SodAnd many a Moonlight Elfin round him tripsFull many a Summer's Sunbeam warms the ClodAnd many a teeming Cloud upon him drips.

But still he sleeps—till the awakening SoundsOf the Archangel's Trump new Life impartThen the GREAT JUDGE his Approbation foundsNot on Man's COLOR but his—WORTH of HEART.

James Watſon Scr. H.Bell del. 1796

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