Save Bethesda African Cemetery

$3,448 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 68 people in 6 months
The Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition needs your help to save this historic hallowed ground!

In the River Road area of Bethesda, MD there was a vibrant African American community dating back to the first generation of freed enslaved persons, who saved up money to buy land and built houses, a school, a church, and a cemetery. The cemetery contains the remains of these freed enslaved people and their descendants. All that remains of this historic African American community is Macedonia Baptist Church on River Road.

In the 1950-60s, the cemetery was desecrated so that that valuable land could be developed. The river stones marking the graves were removed, fill dirt was brought in and dumped, and the cemetery was bulldozed and paved over. It currently sits under the driveway and parking lot of an apartment building.

Right now, there is a development application pending that would further desecrate this historic cemetery by building a parking garage on top of it. The descendant community has been fighting to stop this development. The Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition is currently in mediation with the County, Planning Department, the development company that owns the land, and the Housing Opportunities Commission that leases the property, to try and reach an agreement. Our goal is to memorialize this land and protect it from further development.

The Cemetery Legal Fund has been depleted and the fight isn't over. We need to raise money to pay for the services of the local land use, zoning, property law, and eminent domain attorney who has experience with our county and planning department. Our next mediation session is coming up and we have no money to pay our lawyer. All funds raised will be used for legal fees. 

The people buried in that cemetery deserve our respect and honor. Please give what you can to help us win this fight and right this historic wrong. Thank you!
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Thank you so much to everyone who has helped us. This is turning into a lengthy legal battle and we are still in desperate need of funds to pay our attorney. Please spread the word and if you can, join us on Sunday October 29th from 1:30-3:30pm for a Rally to Save the Bethesda African Cemetery. We will meet at Macedonia Baptist Church (5119 River Road, Bethesda) then march across the street to the burial ground.
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Immense thanks to everyone who has donated thus far. We are approaching our third mediation session and are still in need of funds to pay our lawyer. Please give what you can to help us keep fighting to preserve this historical cemetery and give the African Americans buried there the dignity they deserve. Thank you!
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$3,448 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 68 people in 6 months
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$50
Anonymous
22 days ago
GM
$100
Gina McNeal
29 days ago
JM
$25
James McGee
1 month ago
$15
Shayna Aliza
1 month ago
$25
Seth Alcorn
1 month ago
$10
Caitlin Moran
1 month ago
LR
$20
Lena Rose
1 month ago
IG
$20
Ingrid Goldstrom
1 month ago
JL
$20
Jennifer Leigh
2 months ago
$50
Keren Cabral
2 months ago
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