“Desecrated” African-American, Native-American Cemetery Must Be Saved says CSHT

African-American and Native American cemetery it says has been “desecrated” in the town of Thoroughfare, Va.
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Photo: Facebook

The Coalition to Save Historic Thoroughfare (CSHT) Sunday held a Native-American cleansing and healing ceremony for an African-American and Native American cemetery it says has been “desecrated” in the town of Thoroughfare, Va.

VIDEO OF EVENT

The cemetery is the final resting place of almost 100 freed slaves, freedmen/freedwomen and Native-Americans. In response to this desecration, CSHT and several Native-American groups held the ceremony to honor those souls who have been recently disturbed.

Speakers included representatives of: Coalition to Protect Prince William County, Alliance to Save Carver Road, Prince William NAACP, Prince William Conservation Alliance, Saving the Circle, American Indian Society, American Indian Movement (A.I.M.), United Tribes of the Shenandoah, Unity in the Community, Peaceful Sunrise Buddhist Temple, Manassas Mosque and Virginia State Delegate Danica Roem.

In a statement, Coalition to Save Historic Thoroughfare spokesperson Frank Washington said:

“I would like to thank everyone for their attendance and support of yesterday’s press conference and Native American ceremonies.

“It is truly a blessing to see communities come together for a common cause. To see people of different nationalities, cultures, religions and backgrounds stand together to protect our collective history. Stand together to protect each other. Stand together with true compassion, care and respect for each other.

“It brings forth a feeling of healing that this world so desperately needs right now. I truly believe our unity will bring needed change as well as protection for our collective history. Thank you again and God bless.”

CSHT recently held a protest that included representatives of Coalition to Protect Prince William County, Alliance to Save Carver Road, Prince William NAACP, Prince William Conservation Alliance, Saving the Circle, American Indian Society, American Indian Movement (A.I.M.)

Watch the Protest

Video: Virginia Town Tries to Save African American Graveyard

 A small Virginia town fights to save historic cemeteries of former slaves

GoFundMe page: Save Historic Thoroughfare Cemeteries

In a statement, Shelia Hansen, of the American Indian Movement said:

"The Native American community supports our relatives in Thoroughfare as they strive to save our joint history, cemetery and legacy.”

In a statement, Frank Washington, spokesperson of the Coalition to Save Historic Thoroughfare said:

“Our fears have become a reality. A cemetery holding 75 to 100 slaves, freed slaves and Native-Americans has been bulldozed over and desecrated in the historic town of Thoroughfare, Virginia.

“Those who were given such little value in life are now shown, without a doubt, that same lack of value in death.

“Descendants are shocked at this attack on those souls resting in peace. Ancestors and descendants are being stripped of their identity, land, heritage, and history by greed, abuse of power and privilege.

“The county must hold those responsible accountable for these unlawful and harmful actions.”

BACKGROUND:

The town of Thoroughfare was established and settled by freed African-American slaves and Native Americans. Homes and family cemeteries in this community date back to 1860 and earlier.

Descendants of freed slaves and Native-Americans still live in Thoroughfare.

Slaves, freed slaves, freedmen/freedwomen, and Native-Americans who worked and lived on the land of Thoroughfare, Va., are under the threat of having their final sacred resting places decimated or completely removed by encroaching developers. Family members are also being denied access to many of these graves.

Historic freed slave homes, land and structures are under the same threat of destruction and at risk of being lost.

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