Congress Passes Bill that Preserves Black Burial Grounds Nationwide

The African American Burial Grounds Preservation Act, included in the omnibus appropriations bill, was passed by Congress authorizing up to 3 million annually! The bill was introduced  by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and received bi-partisan support, also being sponsored by Utah Senator Mitt Romney.  Congrats to the Coalition for American Heritage and all the partners who highlighted the need for federal action to safeguard historic African American cemeteries over five years.


The African American Burial Grounds Preservation Program will help identify burial grounds ahead of infrastructure projects and commercial development, thereby minimizing construction delays and avoiding unnecessary community heartache. These sacred sites, and the stories they tell, are an integral part of our American heritage.


The importance for this federal bill started right here in Cincinnati after the Union Baptist Cemetery was vandalized and church advocates brought Senator Sherrod Brown on site which led to his introduction of this legislation and advocacy to fund the bill.  Pictured left are Cheryl New, Member of Union Baptist Church, Beth Johnson, CPA Executive Director and Louise Stevenson, Member of Union Baptist Church.


Watch coverage of Beth and Louise at the cemetery where it all began from Fox 19 here, from WCPO here, and listen on NPR here.


CPA is proud to be among the 150 groups across the country who joined the advocacy and support of this important federal legislation. Learn more about this legislation at the Coalition for American Heritage here.


The United American Cemetery (pictured above) was founded in 1848 in Avondale. It’s the oldest cemetery in Ohio designated for Black people and was forced to move in 1883 after white property owners nearby declared it a public nuisance. Currently, the historic cemetery in Madisonville is owned and maintained by Union Baptist Church.

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