The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

February 25, 2013

Respect the graves


Monday, February 25, 2013 — As far back as I can remember, as far back as my grandparents could remember there has always been a clump of trees located across from Centerview Church, up on the hill, on the Northeast Connector. My ancestors have passed down that this ground is an old slave cemetery. It is registered in the library as an old cemetery with an unknown number of graves.

Recently the owners of that land decided to cut these huge 100-year-old trees down and disturb these old graves.

I don’t claim to know the intention of the landowner, but the once sacred “graveyard of the slaves” is being turned upside down. The owner did convey that he was merely “cleaning up” the old cemetery and that it had spread out too far. However, in my nearly 50 years of life, the clump of trees has always been the same and someone has farmed around this sacred ground for longer than I have been alive.

As a community, do we allow old graveyards to be disturbed or even destroyed? Are we so hungry for progress that we forget those who worked the ground and were buried in peace?

It’s a sad day when we allow our heritage to be stripped from us. I have to ask the people of this county and city what you would do if someone was disturbing your mother’s grave?

Don’t these deceased African-Americans deserve the same respect?

Brent Miller