BETHESDA, Md. (WDVM) — A West African king makes his first visit to Montgomery County to commemorate 400 years since slavery began.
A royal celebration brought dozens to Macedonia Baptist Church, where he visits an old burial site that has recently brought controversy. “Now, we come on this day rejoicing,” said Rev. Segun Adebayo, Pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church.
All the way from Benin, Royal Majesty King Toffa IX makes history as he visits Montgomery County. “Royal Majesty King Toffa IX has come this way, all the way from Porto Novo,” Rev. Adebayo stated.
The king’s visit is the first of five stops the African king plans to make during his visit to the U.S. Congregants of Macedonia Baptist Church lead a march to Moses African Cemetery, where they believe hundreds of African remains lie. “From Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, and Angola, whose bodies were torn apart, are across the street,” said President of the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo.
The church has been going back and forth with the Housing Opportunities Commission after they bought the land with plans to build a parking garage over it, but the church believes there should be a memorial instead. King Toffa visited to pay respects to those who were buried.
Slave artifacts were brought from the Smithsonian as part of their contribution to the church. Members are praying to save the cemetery. They believe that when there’s a will, there’s a way. “We demand that Moses is handed over to Macedonia Baptist Church,” Dr. Coleman-Adebayo stated.
King Toffa the IX’s next stop will be in Charleston, South Carolina.