Thoroughfare

Community Group Pushes to Protect African American Cemeteries in Thoroughfare

People are asking Prince William County to preserve and protect cemeteries, including ones where Native Americans are buried, along with historic sites

NBC Universal, Inc.

A community group is pushing to protect African American cemeteries and historic sites to ensure that history isn't washed away in Thoroughfare, a small section of Prince William County.

Frank Washington is one of the people concerned about what will happen to old cemeteries, including the one where his enslaved ancestors are buried. 

“I feel hurt. I’m hurt. I’m discouraged,” he said. “I feel that the ones laying in those graves once again are fighting for freedom in a sense, because once again they are being shown very little value.”

Washington recently discovered his family’s graves in a cemetery dating as far back as the 1800s. Prince William County officials listened to him speak about it outside the government center.

Washington and community groups want Prince William County to preserve and protect cemeteries, including ones where Native Americans are buried, along with historic sites.

The county’s board of supervisors will vote on funding a plan to look for more historic graves on June 15.

“What we’re doing is working with the land owners in that area now to hold off on any additional development until we can find those additional graves and until we can come up with a viable plan to actually preserve the history in that area,” Margaret Franklin, a county board member from the Woodbridge District, said. 

Another board member, Pete Candland, agreed. 

“I believe they have provided enough information to the county that some additional research needs to be done,” Candland, from the Gainesville District, said. “We need to have our county archeologist go out there."

Washington supports that.

“It can determine exactly where all the graves are, where the boundaries are and how much the land actually holds graves of our ancestors,” he said.

Contact Us