Adam Geller/Associated Press
About 130 Black morticians have died of COVID-19 across the United States. The deaths are particularly notable because of the prominent role that funeral directors have long played in many Black 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. Their deaths have left some successors struggling to fill their roles. At the same time, the services they arrange can serve as communal touchstones that draw mourners together. When the pandemic hit, the very closeness that distinguishes Black funerals put morticians at risk.