Fight continues to protect Moses Cemetery; Community hopeful

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KENSINGTON, Md. – Wednesday, commissioners of the Housing Opportunities Commission in Montgomery County heard from political candidates and the public, pushing them to protect the land which is believed to be Moses African Cemetery, an African American burial ground which now sits as a driveway next to the Westwood Tower apartments in the Westbard area of Bethesda.

“In the case of the Moses African Cemetery, bodies were disinterred and cast aside by construction workers as they built on top of these gravesites. The simple fact is we’d all be outraged if this was a historic site of white residents.”, said Brandy Brooks, candidate for County Council At-Large.

The HOC currently holds the lease to the land which the community wants returned to the decedents of those buried beneath the pavement.
While none of the commissioners would appear on camera, a statement on their website says that the commission understands the sensitivity of the issue, but, “has no plans to pursue development, and consequently no plans to pursue a historical/archaeological evaluation of the property at this time.”

However, River Road descendent and Macedonia Baptist Church Trustee, Henry Matthews, is hopeful that the tide will begin to change.

“We had a very favorable meeting last week with HOC and HOC has said that it would work with us in trying to resolve these issues and give us what we want there in that area. And basically, what we’re asking for is, when the dust has settled, is to have a museum and a monument structured there so people who come near and far can see and learn the history of River Road of the Black Community that once was there.”, said Matthews.

 

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