Almost all of the sugar grown in the United States before the Civil War came from Louisiana. After the Civil War, as many as 20,000 freedmen worked over 170,000 acres across Louisiana. The sugarcane fields outside of Baton Rouge are home to over a dozen forgotten cemeteries. Farmers would bury the deceased on a portion of their land that was not farmable. Without a sign or fence, many of these plantation cemeteries have been forgotten. The sugar plantation ceased operations in the 1980s. The associated church is long gone. Over the years, the property has been sold and divided. Today, a portion of the original plantation is still used for sugarcane farming.
Before 1916 death certificates were not mandatory, so the actual burial count is unknown. Some graves have been completely lost due to flooding over the last century. A local cemetery preservation group is working to preserve, document, and clean up these forgotten cemeteries. In 2018, the Louisiana Legislature passed a bill that created the Slavery Ancestral Burial Grounds Preservation Commission.