Monday, September 25, 2023

Black cemetery advocates to "pour 250+ symbolic bones" at protest of Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich

The Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition plans to protest Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich's appearance at a County budget forum this Wednesday, September 27, 2023 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, in the East-West Room, at 4805 Edgemoor Lane in downtown Bethesda. In a statement, BACC says it intends to "pour 200+ symbolic bones at Marc Elrich's feet," representing bones and other artifacts removed from a construction site directly adjacent to the desecrated Moses African Cemetery in Bethesda that were trucked to a Gainesville, Virginia warehouse. BACC asserts that Elrich and the self-storage company developing the construction site have both blocked access to the remains for independent testing, and that the remains have not been adequately tested to determine if they are human or not.

The site in question, directly behind the McDonald's at 5214 River Road in Bethesda, was not part of Moses African Cemetery. But given the reality that property lines of older, unfenced cemeteries - and of segregated Black cemeteries like Moses - in then-rural areas were not always clear or precisely followed in burials, there was a strong concern that there could be human remains on the site. The Montgomery County Planning Board ignored those concerns when it approved construction of a self-storage building on the property in 2017. 

Demolition of an auto repair building on the site soon followed, and excavation began on the project in 2020, but it has been beset by delays and interruptions ever since. The developer has not commented publicly on why the project has repeatedly stalled out, and the BACC has maintained a steady campaign of protests and rallies at the site, which have garned local, national and international media coverage. Elrich, the County Council and Congressman Jamie Raskin have all declined to intervene in the dispute, leading BACC to protest at their offices and public appearances. 

"Moses Cemetery is located in Mr. Raskin’s district," BACC said in a statement this week, "and we demand that he fight white supremacy in his own backyard as he purports to do on a national level." In the same statement, BACC calls Elrich's inaction on the issue "a clear allegiance to white supremacy." Raskin has said he is deferring to local officials on the matter, and Elrich - who walked in Dr. Martin Luther King's March on Washington and was active in the civil rights movement -  has maintained that he has no legal authority to intervene in the case.


  1. It's doubtful that they are human.

    1. Thanks for the revelation Einstein.