Eldren Bailey, Georgia

Eldren Bailey is seated in front of the sculptures in his front yard.

Eldren Bailey (1903-1987) was a sculptor known for large concrete sculptures. Born in Flovilla, Georgia, he moved to Atlanta at an early age. He first worked with the railroads, but he later became a mason. Many of his sculptures were brightly colored and adorned his front yard. Where he was most prolific though was helping many Black-owned funeral homes with the creation of grave markers.

Admittedly, I had always interpreted these as temporary markers, and for some families, they might have been true. For many, these markers are now permanent. Bailey’s markers differ from many of the other concrete markers seen in Black cemeteries.

Some of his larger pieces did end up in museums, but many of the sculptures seen in his front yard have disappeared.

Bailey’s marker in Southview Cemetery. You can see a similar sculpture behind Bailey in the photo at the top.
This is likely a Bailey marker. It is in Morgan County. Haugabrooks was a Black owned funeral home.
Clayton County, Georgia
Fulton County
Fulton County
A marker that was later incorporated as part of a crypt design
Based on the handwriting and the floral pattern, I suspect this was done by Bailey, too.
$10 receipt for marker that my friend Liz Clappin found

For more reading, I suggest the following:

Black Art Story

Oakland Cemetery Blog Post

Books recommendations

Souls Grown Deep

South-View: An African American City of the Dead

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