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The Black cemetery lost in white suburbia

A former Black cemetery is worth millions to developers in wealthy Bethesda, MD. But to descendants, it’s priceless. Into America learns about the fight to save what’s left of an old Black community.

About this episode:

When Marsha Coleman-Adebayo heard a rumor that members of her church might be buried under a parking lot for a high-rise apartment building, she couldn’t believe it. This small plot of land in the wealthy, white suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, had once been part of the Black community that flourished here after emancipation and was now dwindling due to development and gentrification.

The land was now worth tens of millions of dollars, and developers were eyeing it for further construction. So Marsha became part of a years-long fight between the county and former residents of River Road, the once-thriving Black community within Bethesda, to save and memorialize the Moses Macedonia African Cemetery.

This week, Trymaine travels to River Road to meet with Marsha and Harvey Mathews, a descendant of the community who can still remember what once was. They visit the site of the former cemetery and the tiny church fighting to preserve the memory of their ancestors.

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Find the transcript here.

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