Posts Tagged Mt. Auburn Cemetery

Respecting Our History, Restoring Mount Auburn Cemetery

Mt. Auburn Entrance Gate

In January I wrote a blog about Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Baltimore.  Mt. Auburn is a 34-acre cemetery, located in South Baltimore, overlooking the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River.  One of the oldest African American burial grounds in the country, it was established in 1872 by the Sharpe Street Memorial United Methodist Church as The City of the Dead for Colored People.  It is the burial site of many prominent Baltimore residents, including John H. Murphy, founder of the Afro-American Newspapers; Lillie Carroll Jackson, NAACP president and civil rights activist; and Joe Gans (Gant), the world lightweight boxing champion from 1902-1904 and 1906-1908.

I wrote about the work that was in progress, specifically the perimeter fence that was being installed.  That work is now complete and the graveyard is attractively surrounded by a new fence, rebuilt stone wall and new entrance gate. In my previous blog, I also noted that it was apparent an enormous amount of work had been done to remove the overgrowth of sticker bushes, weeds, and trash that at one point covered many of the headstones located in the cemetery.  That work has obviously continued.  The “Riverview” section I referred to in January as wilderness has been cleared and is now indistinguishable from the other portions of the graveyard. 

Cleared “Riverview” Section

A tremendous effort is being made to honor the estimated 55,000 interred on this site.  A sign on the entrance gate speaks of a collaborate effort between The City of Baltimore, Mount Auburn Cemetery Board of Directors, The Abell Foundation and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, whose inmates are responsible for much of the work completed.  All should be commended for the work done so far. 

However, this is not the end of the story.  The weeds and brush overgrowth will reappear. There must be a long term commitment to the continual maintenance of this treasured site.  Preservation Maryland has reached out to the Board of Directors of Mt. Auburn to offer our assistance and we look forward to becoming a part of the collaborative effort to ensure the perpetual maintenance of the site.

Volunteers are still needed and encouraged to meet at the cemetery for cleanup every Saturday morning in July and every 1st and 3rd Saturday thereafter.   Check the Sharp Street Church’s website at http://www.sharpstreet.org/mtauburn.html for details.

Marilyn Benaderet

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