Rep. McEachin Applauds Hearing on African American Burial Grounds Network Act
Washington, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) released the following statement after the first hearing was held on the African American Burial Grounds Network Act. The legislation is under consideration in the National Resources Committee’s National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee. The African American Burial Grounds Network Act would create a voluntary national network of historic African American burial grounds, and would provide information, technical support, and grants to aid in the research, identification, preservation, and restoration of burial sites within the network.
“Today’s hearing is a major step forward for protecting and preserving the history and culture of African American cemeteries,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin. “For far too long, African American burial sites have been abused and neglected, making it difficult for loved ones to mourn the deceased and for communities to embrace their history. I am proud to have co-introduced this bipartisan legislation, which will honor the legacies of African American ancestors both in my district and across the country.”
The African American Burial Grounds Network Act would provide federal support for historic African-American burial grounds in need of assistance to ensure their preservation for future generations. Historically, the documentation and protection of African-American burial grounds have been shamefully neglected. This legislation aims to address this injustice by providing federal recognition and support for these sacred sites.
Over fifty national, state, and local organizations endorse the legislation, including many based in Virginia: Preservation Virginia, Enrichmond Foundation, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, Virginia Humanities, the Council of Virginia Archaeologists, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Virginia, The Preservers of the Daughters of Zion Cemetery, Corhaven Graveyard, Coracle, Coming to the Table, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond, Preservation Piedmont, The Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project, and the Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project.