Maryland

Historic Maryland Church Protests Plans for Development at Burial Site

A Maryland church protested at a planning board meeting Thursday in a continued fight to protect what they call sacred ground.

Developers paved over Macedonia Baptist Church’s cemetery in the 1950s. Now there is a plan for more development.

"This is the first generation of freed Africans on River Road,” Marsha Coleman-Adebayo. “Their families were enslaved on tobacco plantations."

Members of the historic African-American church say the Montgomery County Planning Board knew more about the burial site than it admitted and want Board Director Gwen Wright to step down.

"This is a complete sham,” Coleman-Adebayo said at the meeting. “You should be ashamed of yourselves."

"The question is whether those remains were moved, relocated at some point, and we'd like to get to the bottom of that," Planning Board Chairman Casey Anderson said.

Coleman-Adebayo is skeptical and says the county isn't being transparent. Wright said that's not true.

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“It is one of the most transparent processes of this kind that I can imagine," she said.

The county said a study using radar to look for remains should be done in May, with results coming in June, but members of the church don’t trust the technology is capable of detecting remains.

"We are very committed to preserving what may remain of the cemetery and to commemorating it appropriately," Wright said.

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