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Seeking Information on State Legislation to conserve African American Burial Grounds

  • 1.  Seeking Information on State Legislation to conserve African American Burial Grounds

    Posted 02-24-2020 14:01

     Hi All

    I am a volunteer with the Pennsylvania Hallowed Grounds Project, a statewide organization of cemetery preservationists, caretakers, historians, and educators. We are committed to preserving Pennsylvania's African-American cemeteries and burial grounds as places that provide an essential connection to the African-American story of our state.  Recent research estimates that there are more than 150 of these sites. Many are the final resting place of our veterans including members of the United States Colored Troops, Buffalo Soldiers and from every war since then. Often these sites are unrecognized, in disrepair, or cemeteries where the current caretakers are aging or overwhelmed. 

     

    Recently, we have been offered the opportunity to suggest state legislation or policies to conserve these cemeteries. We are looking for good examples from other states.

     

    Many thanks!

     

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  • 2.  RE: Seeking Information on State Legislation to conserve African American Burial Grounds

    Posted 04-09-2020 13:20
    Legislation could be the answer. But people caring for these places is ultimately the answer. Legislation may be the solution and maybe it can help the goal of people involvement to be reached. I would like to think the solution would be to 1) identify where all of the cemeteries are and 2) organize and train communities in what is needed to take care of them. My experience has taught me that at the bottom of most problems is a community of people who feel powerless to effect solutions. Sometimes government is the solution and sometimes old fashioned organizing. This might involve contacting organizations near those 150 locations to engage them in education projects with solutions toward taking care of those cemeteries. It might be offering incentive grants to communities to address the problems of the cemeteries. Not far from me a group of four teachers and a town historian near Kinderhook, NY did the work to learn about an abandoned African American cemetery. They then took steps to clean it and restore it and place way side signs nearby. They used their own funds and funds raised locally for the project. What they accomplished can be repeated everywhere if we can identify caring people who can find their way with what needs to be done.  They made a video about it too. BROUGHT TO LIGHT is available on DVD and Blu-ray at: https://www.barbarareina.com/kinderhook-documentary.html

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    Paul Stewart
    Co-Founder
    Underground Railroad History Project
    Albany NY
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  • 3.  RE: Seeking Information on State Legislation to conserve African American Burial Grounds

    Posted 04-09-2020 14:17
    We would benefit from a national database of all of these sites, with
    details on who/what/where/when/why. What would be the funding sources?
    NEH? NPS? Is that being done?

    Alexandra Rollins
    Management and Fundraising for the Preservation, Arts and Nonprofit
    Communities
    24 Goodrich Road, Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA 02130
    Land 617.524.6007; Cell 617.733.5827. www.rollinsupton.com