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Historic Burial Ground in Adams Morgan to be Toured & Explained

Sat., Apr. 16 (11am-1pm): The Kalorama Citizens Association (KCA) is sponsoring a tour inside Adams Morgan’s Walter Pierce Park of the site of the original Quaker buying ground established in 1807 and the larger, 1870-established African-American cemetery. Leading the tour of these sites will be Howard University biological archeologist Professor Mark Mack who has been directing the Walter Pierce Parch Archaeology Project. He will be explaining how his student teams have been using ground-penetrating radar to detect where graves and other features of the burial ground and still exist in the park.

In addition to commemorating this historic site, the event will celebrate DC Emancipation Day and also to mark the 163rd anniversary since the 1848 attempted escape of 77 enslaved men, women and children on board the schooner Pearl.

Both cemeteries were forced to close in 1890 due to pressures from neighborhood development. In 2005, a grassroots group of concerned citizens began working with Howard University experts to identify, protect and commemorate the cemeteries. More than half of the African-American burials identified so far were those of small children. Of the adults, 60 percent were born in Virginia, 20 percent in Maryland, and 12 percent in the District; most arrived in the 1860s as refugees from the Civil War.

Access to the site out in the center of the park can be either from Adams Mill Road a short walk north from Calvert Street or from Calvert Street where it crosses the Ellington Bridge. There is no rain date, but we are informed that the event will take place even in a “light rain.” For more information, call Mary Belcher, community liaison to the project, at 462-9069 or send an email to maryjbelcher@comcast.net.