“Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead, and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals.” – William Gladstone
Since it was opened in 1852, Laurel Cemetery was supposed to become a place where the luminaries of Baltimore’s black community could be remembered forever. “All who procure burials here are sure of an undisturbed resting place for all time to come,” an 1858 ad promised. However, “forever” ended in the 1960s.
The cemetery was paved over by developers with political connections. Today the former cemetery is the site of a Food Depot, a discount department store, and a Dollar General, among other commercial buildings.
In the 1980s a local genealogist, Alma Moore, dedicated herself to piecing together the cemetery’s history and documenting the names of the people buried there. In the course of her research, Moore became convinced that thousands of people remain buried under the shopping center’s parking lot.
You can read the full story in an article by Sarah Laskow in the Atlas Obscura web site at: http://bit.ly/2EsFx0P.
My thanks to newsletter reader Ed Hamilton for telling me about this story.