Uncovering A Prestigious Black Cemetery Beneath A Strip Mall

By JEANETTE LENOIR

The Laurel Cemetery is a significant burial location for African Americans and yet, it sits unrecognized beneath a strip mall on Belair Road in Northeast Baltimore. Frederick Douglas spoke there during the funeral of a friend, 270 black Civil War soldiers are buried there, and it’s the final resting place for some of the movers and shakers in the African American community who called Baltimore home in the early 19th century. One would never know the sacredness of this cemetery at face value today because it’s easily walked over and used as a short cut to get to and from the strip mall that sits above it.

Thankfully, there’s good news to report on the cemetery that stood the test of time from 1852 – 1957.  A symposium to commemorate the historic cemetery will take place on June 15, 2019 at Coppin State University from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM in the Talon Center, located at 2500 W. North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216. Click HERE for all the details.

My conversation with local Artist and Baltimore native, Terrell Brown, dives into this sad state of affairs of a once prominent resting place for Baltimore’s black elites.

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