Maryland Church Seeks to Regain Historic Slave Cemetery

In Summary

A lawsuit filed last month by the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition seeks to block Montgomery County’s pending property, Westwood Tower, to the investment firm Charger Ventures.  

Activists are demanding a slave cemetery be returned to a Maryland church decades after the parking lot of an apartment complex was partially built over the site, according to WLJA.  

A lawsuit filed last month by the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition seeks to block Montgomery County’s pending property, Westwood Tower, to the investment firm Charger Ventures.  

Macedonia Baptist Church wants to regain ownership of the cemetery and build a monument and museum on the site, per reports.  

This is just one of the many fights in preserving Black history In December, the Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan piece of legislation to help set up a voluntary, nationwide network of African American burial grounds. 

The bill proposed by US Senator Sherrod Brown would provide federal assistance to ensure the burial sites are preserved and maintained for future generations. 

In a statement on the Senate floor Brown states that the nation needs to act fast before sites are completely destroyed by development. 

“We know that for too long in too many parts of our country, Black families were blocked from burying their loved ones in white cemeteries,” Brown said. 

Rev. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, which has thrown his support behind Montgomery County, said, “This cemetery is a metaphor for the larger narrative of land theft that happens to Black communities, Native communities, Latino communities and poor white communities,” Barber said in a statement to the press, according to NBC News

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