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Beard/Bachtell Cemetery Cleanup

On November 13, 2021 several members of the Coalition (Eileen McGuckian, Tina Simmons, and Dennis Green) met with Christina Bloom to help clean up the Beard-Bachtell cemetery located in Smithburg, Washington County. A dumpster was provided which was filled to the brim with saplings from inside the cemetery. The weather provided as much of a challenge as the cemetery, giving us samples of cold, rain, high winds, and, eventually sun. We were joined in our work by Christina’s brother, Landon Grove and a couple other relatives. Christina’s great-grandfather is buried there and they worked to try to right his headstone while we were there. Although we were able to make great headway in removing small trees and uncovering many of the 40+ headstones, there is still more work to be done. There is still a lot of ground cover, animal burrows to fill in, stones to be re-set, and capstones secured at the top of the stone wall. We look forward to continuing to offer recommendations to the local community in their efforts to care for this cemetery.

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Historic African American Cemeteries Preservation Study (House Bill 1099 updated November 2021)

Taking the cue from a 2021 House Bill, a working committee headed by the Maryland Commission for African American History and Culture and the Maryland Historical Trust (also including the Coalition and other interested parties) asks all cemetery owners, advocates, descendants, and citizens to take this survey as the important first step in determining needs of historic cemeteries and how to help meet them. CPMBS encourages everyone to complete the study and will continue to work with public and private entities toward a good result.

CPMBS encourages everyone to complete the study and will continue to work with public and private entities toward a good result.

Take the survey!

Please help us by sharing the link with others who may be interested in participating.

To learn more about this important project, visit: https://bit.ly/3ECnmmV.

The Tragic Backstory Behind a Historic Route 1 Cemetery

Just down Route 1 in D.C., a small plaque on a concrete column near the exit of the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station is all that’s left of the historic Columbian Harmony Cemetery, once the city’s most prominent African-American cemetery.

But the plaque does not tell the whole story.

“Many distinguished black citizens including civil war veterans were buried in this cemetery,” it reads. “These bodies now rest in the new National Harmony Memorial Park Cemetery in Maryland.”

The Metro station, which is now surrounded by apartments and shops, is gaining new attention for a bar opening soon in a renovated Metro car parked on site.

But the tragic backstory of the land beneath the Metro station is not as widely known.

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Trader Foundation Board of Directors Positions

The Trader Foundation for Maryland Burial Sites is seeking candidates for open positions on its Board of Directors. Those wishing to apply should email traderfoundationmd@gmail.com. The Board meets twice each year to receive, review, and respond to grant applications for cemetery projects throughout the State of Maryland. The position requires that you assess each application and evaluate the merits of providing funding to accomplish its goal. Comments and questions should be sent to the email address above.

Hundreds turn out Juneteenth to stop desecration of Maryland cemetery

BETHESDA, Md.—Residents here used the occasion of Juneteenth celebrations, for the first time an official national holiday, to step up an ongoing struggle to stop the desecration of an African cemetery.

The Moses Cemetery is a place where freed Africans are buried, part of a tightly-knit Black enclave formed in the wake of the abolition of slavery in Maryland.

A coalition of activists had to be formed to save the cemetery after the arrival in 2017 of a company determined to build a self-storage facility on the site.

Several hundred members and supporters of the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition (BACC), Macedonia Baptist Church, Claudia Jones School for Political Education, and speakers from local anti-racist organizations celebrated Juneteenth at the Moses African Cemetery on Saturday. The coalition, led by Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, seeks to stop the desecration of the Cemetery and memorialize the freed Africans buried there.

In 2017, the Montgomery County Planning Board gave self-storage developer 1784 Capital Holdings permission to build a facility on land legally designated “Parcels 242 and 191,” less than 100 yards from the historic cemetery. In July 2017, researchers from the Ottery Group investigated local “death notices and funeral announcements” from the early 20th century and found documentation that Moses Cemetery “received new internments” between 1911 and 1944.

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