Community group lobbies to protect African-American cemeteries in railroad tracks
A community group is lobbying to protect African-American cemeteries and historic sites to ensure history is not washed away in Thoroughfare, a small section of Prince William County.
As seen on NBC Washington on May 19, 2021.
Frank Washington is one of those concerned about what will happen to ancient cemeteries, including the one where his enslaved ancestors are buried.
“I feel hurt. I am hurt. I am discouraged,” he said. “I have a feeling that those who rest in these graves are once again fighting for freedom in a sense, because a again, we show them very little value. “
Washington recently discovered his family’s graves in a cemetery dating back to the 1800s. Prince William County officials listened to him talk about it outside of the government center.
Washington and community groups want Prince William County to preserve and protect cemeteries, including those where Native Americans are buried, as well as historic sites.
The county supervisory board will vote on June 15 on funding for a plan to search for other historic graves.
“What we’re doing is working with the landowners in this area now to delay any further development until we can find these additional graves and until we can come up with a viable plan to actually preserve. history in this area, ”Margaret Franklin, a member of the Woodbridge District County Board of Directors, said.
Another board member, Pete Candland, agreed.
“I think they’ve provided enough information to the county that further research is needed,” said Candland, of the Gainesville District. “We need our county archaeologist to go over there.”
Washington supports this.
“He can determine exactly where all the graves are, where the boundaries are, and how much of the earth actually contains the graves of our ancestors,” he said.