Conducted virtually via Zoom.
President Eileen McGuckian called the 30th Annual Meeting of the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites (video link) to order at 10:00 a.m. on May 7, 2022 and welcomed online members and guests via Zoom.
This post-pandemic year exposed both strengths and vulnerabilities. Our non-profit organization accomplished a lot this past year and in several ways we matured as an organization. Our working Board revamped the bylaws which enabled us to activate old and create new committees. We invite everyone to serve on a committee… membership, finance, archives, communication, legislation, or on the Board of Directors. We would like to invite those members of western Maryland, southern Maryland, and the eastern shore to get more involved. The Coalition purchased insurance and a Zoom license. We published the first color version of the Coalition Courier. We continue to assist cemetery caregivers and augment our website. We continue to ask for help in updating the County Pages with vital information for those seeking assistance with their projects throughout Maryland.
This year, the Coalition committed to a program to train Maryland State prisoners in conservation practices and match them with needy Maryland cemeteries. The PRINCE Project has the potential help at many of our cemetery sites.
Our president, Eileen McGuckian, has been representing the Coalition on a working committee that has been studying the needs of the African American cemeteries and the obstacles that they encounter. It’s conducted by the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and the Maryland Historical Trust. The study was requested by the legislature to determine the ways in which the state can assist struggling owners and caretakers. Outreach to the cemetery community includes a survey, focus group discussions with descendants, and listing current laws and programs in each county and town.
The Coalition has agreed to schedule some volunteer cemetery cleanups throughout the state as requests come in and local groups plan to help out.
This past year, House Bill 1088 passed the General Assembly and now awaits the Governor’s signature. It will raise the amount of funds available for African American capital restoration projects for $1–$5 million per year.
The Coalition is cheering on various statewide database and mapping initiatives to show cemetery sites.
The brief business meeting included reports from Treasurer Reginald Bishop, Membership Chair Kristin Kraske, and Trader Foundation Secretary Glenn Wallace. Elected for the term 2022-2024 were the following Officers and Directors: Secretary: Anne Brockett, Treasurer: Reginald Bishop, Directors: Cynthia Eisenrauch, James Lanier, Melvin Mason, Candy Warden.
Links to the presentations given:
• “Meeting Unusual Challenges: Friends of Halfway African American Cemetery, Washington County” by Elizabeth Paul & Emilie Amt
• “The Laurel Cemetery Memorial Project, Baltimore” by Isaac Shearn, Ph.D. & Elgin Klugh, Ph.D.
Coalition Preservation Videos introduced:
• “Documenting Burials in Your Cemetery” by Tina Simmons
• “Mapping a Cemetery” by Glenn Wallace
The 2022 Periwinkle Awards were presented to Mark Wittholz and Elinor Thompson.
A very informative Open Forum and Group Discussion was held. You can listen to the conversations here.
We hope to resume an in-person conference in Frederick next year! Save the date… Saturday, May 6th.