Audio Recording The Funeral Home as a home: living with your business

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The Funeral Home as a home: living with your business
Contributor Names
Bragg, Carnie (Narrator)
Smith, Lynda (Collaborator)
Levitas, Susan, 1961- (Interviewer)
Created / Published
Subject Headings
-  African Americans
-  Undertakers and undertaking
-  Oral history
-  Interviews
-  Sound recordings
-  Work processes
-  Work ethic
-  Family-run businesses
-  Funeral homes
-  Bragg Funeral Home (Paterson, N. J.)
-  Ethnography
-  United States -- New Jersey -- Paterson
-  Interview with Carnie Bragg, owner, Bragg Funeral Home.
-  Summary of audio segment: The black funeral "home" tradition actually comes from when remains were laid out in the home and as funeral directors opened up their own chapels, they continued to call it a funeral home because that's where the bodies were originally laid out; they were embalmed in the home, laid out in the home; the word "wake" comes from people staying awake all night with the body. "We just had a case last week where we transferred remains to North Carolina and the family told us that the funeral director there would take the remains to his funeral home and they had a visitation that night at the funeral home and after that, they would take remains home and keep them all night and then go to the church the next day. We have deep tradition in our black heritage. The white funeral directors, when we tell them, can't believe the service that we render to the families," like delivering chairs, and we don't have as many cremations because "we have a tradition of having a funeral." (Living with your business: how was that growing up?) He enjoyed growing up with the business; he always wanted to be a funeral director; in his high school yearbook from East Side High School it says "to be a mortician"; "I had my friends come to visit and they still tell stories about how I locked the door on them" in rooms with bodies; "I love what I do."
Digital Audio Tape
Call Number/Physical Location
AFC 1995/028: WIP-SL-A014
Source Collection
Working in Paterson Project Collection (AFC 1995/028)
American Folklife Center
Digital Id
Online Format

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Credit line

Working in Paterson Project collection, 1993-2002 (AFC 1995/028), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Bragg, Carnie, Lynda Smith, and Susan Levitas. The Funeral Home as a home: living with your business. -08-17, 1994. Audio.

APA citation style:

Bragg, C., Smith, L. & Levitas, S. (1994) The Funeral Home as a home: living with your business. -08-17. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Bragg, Carnie, Lynda Smith, and Susan Levitas. The Funeral Home as a home: living with your business. -08-17, 1994. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.