Battle continues to save historic African-American cemetery


The battle continues to save an old African-American cemetery in Montgomery County after some back and forth between the Housing Opportunities Commission and community members.

It’s been a long battle between the Housing Opportunities Commission and community leaders who want to save a historic cemetery, and what are they asking for? “The cemetery being restored as a precious historical site in Montgomery County,” said Lynn Pekkanen of the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition.

They’ve had meetings and protests all to come to an agreement not to build property over the old burial grounds. One of the protests even led to arrests and charges, but they have since been dropped.

Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a member of Social Justice Ministry, Macedonia Baptist Church, stated: “We never should have been arrested.”

Activists say there are hundreds of bodies buried below these grounds, however, HOC bought the same land for $20 million and they aren’t budging.

“This battle is not over, yet. Even though the charges were dropped against us, it was never really about us. It’s always been about Moses Cemetery,” Marsha said.

HOC suggests creating an advisory board to make decisions. “We’re committed to fighting the struggle for the long term. We’re not going to give up, we’re not going to shut up and we’re not going away,” Marsha stated. The coalition just wants HOC to quote, “Do the right thing, so residents know their county’s history.”

We’ve reached out to HOC and have not yet received a response.

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