Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Macedonia Baptist Church to protest cemetery "body snatchers" at MoCo Council meeting today
HOC, under public scrutiny after months of demonstrations at their headquarters, suddenly suggested in December that it was scrapping its plan to build a parking garage on top of the cemetery, which had been in the works (and includes a long paper trail of documents) for several years. While this was a short-term win for cemetery advocates, they remain skeptical that HOC is really giving up on land they paid $20 million for.
“Despite HOC’s claim that it has no plans ‘in the foreseeable future” to develop the land that houses our ancestors, it defies simple logic that HOC would borrow $20.5 million and not develop the land,” MBC Pastor Rev. Dr. Segun Adebayo said Tuesday. “And even if HOC has no plans for the land, the status quo is unacceptable.” The status quo is the cemetery having been desecrated, and then hidden under fill dirt and asphalt, by workers building Westwood Tower in the late 1960s.
“Out of sight out of mind may work for HOC but we care about the preservation of our history, the honoring of our heritage and recognition of the significant contribution those interred beneath HOC’s parking lot made to the the Bethesda and greater Washington, D.C. communities," MBC's Social Justice Ministry Chair Marsha Coleman-Adebayo said. "On Tuesday, we are going to let the Montgomery County Council know that we will not sit idly by as HOC’s body snatchers once again purchase our ancestors and treat their remains as if they are no more deserving than to be dumped in a mass grave.”
The cemetery and Macedonia Baptist Church are the only remaining properties from a lost African-American community along River Road, between today's Little Falls Parkway and Ridgefield Road. It lasted about 100 years, before black landowners were forced off their properties by developers in the 1950s and 1960s.