Sumary of Virus claims Black morticians, leaving holes in communities:
- (AP) — When the last mourners departed and funeral director Shawn Troy was left among the headstones, he wept alone.
- For five decades, the closing words at countless funerals in this town of 4,400 had been delivered by his father, William Penn Troy Sr.
- Now the elder Troy was gone, one of many Black morticians claimed by a pandemic that has taken an outsized toll on African Americans, after months of burying its victims.
- And as Shawn Troy stepped forward to speak in place of a man well known beyond his trade — for his work in county politics and advocacy of its Black citizens — the emptiness felt overwhelming.
- Since the start of the pandemic, about 130 Black morticians have died from COVID-19, according to the association that represents them.
- But the National Funeral Directors Association, which represents the broader industry, said it has not seen a corresponding rise in COVID deaths among its members.
- The deaths of Black morticians are particularly notable because of the prominent role they have long played in many communities.
- Often admired for their success in business, a number have been elected to political office, served as local power brokers, and helped fund civil rights efforts.