After the Civil War ended, freed African American slaves settled in the Alexandria neighborhood where Fort Ward Park had been built and then abandoned. It was a black community for about the next 100 years, until Alexandria took over the area, including a black cemetery, and built over it.
In today’s Post, Christy Goodman has an excellent story about how the park is at the center of Alexandria’s debate over how to honor the city’s African American heritage. Part of the cemetery was being used as a dog park. This past winter, archaeologists uncovered 22 more graves there.
“We want our heritage back,” said Adrienne Washington, 61, whose ancestors helped build the Seminary neighborhood. “We worked the land. We love the land. We are buried on the land.”
Read the rest of Christy’s fine story here.