News

News

Judge halts sale of apartment complex where Black graves were buried beneath parking lot

Judge halts sale of apartment complex where Black graves were buried beneath parking lot.

10/26/2021 5:02:00 AM

Judge halts sale of apartment complex where Black graves were buried beneath parking lot.

A Maryland judge on Monday ruled in favor of a community coalition attempting to thwart the sale of an apartment complex in suburban Washington, D.C.

The Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission'spending $50 million saleof Westwood Tower in Bethesda to a local investment firm, Charger Ventures, drew intense public opposition over the summer and led to the lawsuit filed by the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition. The group had furnished historical accounts indicating the gravesite — known as Moses Cemetery — was paved over with asphalt for a parking lot when the apartments went up in the late 1960s. The coalition accused the commission of violating state law by failing to get court approval for the apartment complex's sale, which is normally required when cemetery property is involved.

‘The Voice’ Reveal Its Five Finalists Jacqueline Avant’s Family Announces Memorial Fund Amb. Power: Voting rights in America must be protected

Judge Karla Smith of the Montgomery County Circuit Court denied a motion by the commission seeking to dismiss the suit, while granting a preliminary injunction to halt the sale.Sept. 2, 202001:35In making her decision, Smith wrote that there is a public interest in preserving the property and there was nothing in the county's contract to compel the potential new owner to do so.

"Regardless of whether Charger decides to keep the parking lot, build on the lot, or dig up the lot, bodies of African Americans remain there," she wrote, adding that"the Court has an obligation to ensure that such resting place is respected." headtopics.com

Moses Cemetery, which operated from 1911 to 1958, is what's left of a historic Black community inBethesda's River Road enclave. Last month, Smith heard more than 12 hours of testimony during an emergency hearing in the case, including from a man who is one of the only surviving members of the River Road section, which disappeared when Black families were squeezed out by developers in the 1950s.

Harvey Matthews, who is in his 70s, testified that as a boy he recalled seeing some 200 grave markers before many were destroyed during construction of Westwood Tower."They were finding body parts — arms, legs," he testified, adding that if digging were to occur at the site today,"body parts will jump up at you like popcorn."

Smith said it was critical to hear from community members, including the descendants of those who were last known to have been buried at the cemetery."The Court cannot ignore that Plaintiffs, African Americans, are seeking to preserve the memory of their relatives and those with whom they share a cultural affiliation," she wrote."Nor can the Court ignore that as early as the 1930s when construction began in the River Road community, the deceased have been forgotten, forsaken and their final resting places destroyed or, at a minimum, desecrated."

Steven Lieberman, an attorney for the coalition, said the county could choose to appeal the ruling and attempt to get it reversed, or follow state law and obtain court approval for any future sale.Neither the Housing Opportunities Commission nor Charger Ventures immediately responded to requests for comment on next steps. headtopics.com

Chloe Grace Moretz Interested in ‘Kick-Ass 3’ if the Situation Is “Perfect” Judge Temporarily Halts New York City Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate for Public Workers Makin’ Tracks: It’s ‘Officially Christmas’ as Dan + Shay Paint the Small Town Red

Efforts to protect unmarked Black graves across the country have ramped up in recent years as researchers say the sites have become increasingly endangered for a variety of reasons, including development, a lack of historical record-keeping, no political willpower to save them, and

climate change.Lieberman said the victory in Montgomery County could serve as a blueprint in other places with similar laws."Very often, these burial grounds are under a highway bypass, or they've been plowed under for other uses, and this really does give people a road map in how to address these issues," he said.

Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, president of the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition.Gail RebhanMarsha Coleman-Adebayo, president of the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition, said the group is still seeking accountability and would like the land to be returned to the Black community and a local Black church to be properly memorialized.

She sees the court ruling as a direct opposition to the Supreme Court's 1857Dred Scott decisionthat determined even freed slaves were not American citizens. Read more: NBC News »

Parents charged in Michigan school shooting returning to town, attorney says

The suspected gunman, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, allegedly used his father's semi-automatic handgun in Tuesday's shooting.

Meanwhile back at the dairy.... the development across town is riddled with serious problems like advanced stages of terminal bloat. It's like you build on the burial grounds and get cursed or something. Weird.

Dakota Johnson Channeled Black Swan in a Little Black Feathered DressWow. Hmm. I think I prefer the Chinese style evening dress, on balance. But I wonder whether she enjoyed wearing YSL tropical island one more?

Dakota Johnson Channeled Black Swan in a Little Black Feathered DressWow.

30 Ceramic Pieces From Black Artisans and Black-Owned BusinessesIncluding a peace-sign-shaped vase, brightly painted planters, and a catchall for tiny trinkets that’s inspired by 1970s swimming pools.

Mabel 'signs up to judge alongside Simon Cowell and Craig David on new show'The Don’t Call Me Up singer has reportedly inked a deal to be a star judge on a panel alongside Simon Cowell and Craig David on upcoming ITV show – Walk The Line

Lebanese judge charges 68 over deadly clash south of BeirutA Lebanese judge has charged 68 people in this month's deadly clash in Beirut that left seven people dead and dozens wounded, the state news agency reported Monday. The clash south of Beirut on Oct. 14 was the worst fighting in the capital in years and broke out during a Hezbollah-organized protest against the judge leading the investigation into last year’s massive Beirut port blast. The National News Agency said Government Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Fadi Akiki charged the 68 people with crimes including murder, attempted murder, inciting sectarian strife, having unlicensed weapons and sabotage. WHO destroyed the Paris of the ME Another ILLEGAL WAR!

U.S. judge sets deadline for Prince Andrew's testimony in accuser's lawsuitBritain's Prince Andrew must make himself available to answer questions under oath by next July 14 in a civil lawsuit by a woman who accused him of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager.