Posting will be intermittent over the next few weeks as I am currently caught in the holiday/end-of-semester vortex and must direct every impulse to write toward strictly productive ends.
I've been reading an excellent study of God's Little Acre by James C. Garman of Salve Regina University. It's called "Faithful and Loyal Servants: The Masking and Marking of Ethnicity in the Material Culture of Death," and was Garman's M.A. thesis at UMass. One of his analytic techniques is comparing the size of gravestones among several groups over time. I've created a graph using his measurements:
As you can see, in the earliest of the three periods, gravestones for white adults were similar in size, while enslaved adults' stones were about the same size as white children's. In the middle period, African American adults have slightly larger headstones than before, though that may be due to the practice of averaging larger stones for free people with smaller stones erected for slaves. By the final period, black men's gravestones are almost as large as white men's and the ratio of men:women:children is similar among both blacks and whites.
The one piece of data that is still a bit puzzling to me is the lack of growth in black women's stones between the second and the third period. Gravestones increased in size for all groups, but black women saw the least growth (3%) while black men saw the most (36%).