“There was always people like me.” Issiah Owens, Funeral Director of Owens Funeral Home.
Homegoings visits the little seen world of African American funerals and funeral homes through the lens of Issiah Owens, funeral director of Harlem’s Owens Funeral Home. Filmmaker Christina Turner explores Owen’s humble beginnings; when he was a young boy when he performed his first funeral (he buried matchsticks), and found his calling in life by caring and tending for the dead. The necessity of Owens’ business can be traced back to slavery, where the death of a loved one was a respite from the daily brutality of forced labor, and where remaining family and friends gathered to celebrate and grieve. Owens, in caring for the dead, carries forth the legacy of a funeral director as a source of strength for a grieving community in a rapidly modernizing world.