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Virtual Lunch and Learn: Researching Baltimore’s Historic Laurel Cemetery

September 9, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Laurel Cemetery was incorporated in 1852 as the first nondenominational cemetery for African Americans in Baltimore, quickly becoming a popular place of burial across Black Baltimore’s socioeconomic spectrum. After changing ownership several times, the last owners failed to maintain the property and declared bankruptcy in 1952. The cemetery was demolished in 1958 to make room for the development of a shopping center amid controversy and outrage from the African American community. University of Baltimore and Coppin State University faculty and student researchers found conclusive evidence from archaeological excavations and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) that burials still exist at the original site. In collaboration with the Baltimore African American Historical and Genealogical Society (BAAHGS), the State of Maryland Archives, and the Baltimore City Archives, researchers are utilizing Baltimore City Death Certificates to identify Laurel Cemetery Burials. Thus far, archival researchers have identified records of over 14,000 burials. This presentation will discuss past and ongoing collaborative archival research, and further history being revealed about the people and community associated with Laurel Cemetery.
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