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African American Cemeteries Forum

Warren VA ! Honoring our Ancestors

I just received this from a website for WARREN, VA ~~~~~~

After generations of neglect, once-forgotten African-American cemeteries come into their own.

By Michael Lee Pope
Thursday, March 25, 2010

City-owned maintenance vehicles were parked over one African-American graveyard. A gas station was constructed over the other. Together, the two long-neglected black cemeteries represent a lost chapter of Alexandria’s history, one that’s only now being written. But confronting the unsavory behavior from the past has not been easy, and it’s created some dissention among the living.

"It’s a sad and shameful story," said Ferdinand Day, one of the city’s preeminent civil-rights leaders. "And it shows a kind of Jim Crow attitude that prevailed in this city for many years."

At Freedman’s Cemetery, opinions vary about how to memorialize the dead. A consultant hired by the city has moved beyond a design approved in 2008 in favor of a more modern design. And a recent discovery of forgotten African-American burial sites at Fort Ward won’t be completely excavated for four years because of a lack of funding. Together, the two sites still retain a sense of uncertainty about the best way to honor the men and women buried there.

"This is a city that was the largest slave-trading center on the East Coast, and I think that influenced the values of the people who ran the city for many years," said Glenn Eugster, who has been pressing the city to recognize the burials at Fort Ward since 2008. "It took a long time for that to change, but there’s now — finally — there’s a recognition that these graves are important."

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Warren VA ! Honoring our Ancestors
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18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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