Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Maryland Supreme Court to hear case on sale of Moses African Cemetery on January 8, 2024

Maryland's Supreme Court is now scheduled to hear the case regarding the attempted sale of a Bethesda property containing Moses African Cemetery on January 8, 2024. The case of Dr. Olusegun Adebayo and the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition (BACC) vs. the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (HOC) centers on the HOC's alleged violation of a state law that requires descendants of those buried in a cemetery to be notified of the potential sale of that land. 

A Montgomery County judge granted an injunction against the sale of the Westwood Tower property to Charger Ventures, but was overruled by an appeals court decision. Charger Ventures then withdrew its purchase offer. Adebayo and BACC have appealed to the state's highest court now, which will have the final say, unless the plaintiffs seek a further appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court following this ruling.

"This is the first time that a state supreme court is being asked to limit the power of developers and state agencies regarding the selling and desecration of African burial grounds and our ancestors," BACC said in a statement Monday. "The decision by the Maryland Supreme Court will have national and perhaps, international ramifications. The court will decide whether Black bodies can be sold to private or public agecies and the land laundered for non-burial purposes without oversight by the court or descendant families. BACC is on the front lines of fighting for both the living and our ancestors. Please plan to join BACC on January 8th and by your presence declare: Black Bodies are Not for Sale! People over Profit!"

BACC is organizing bus transportation to the Supreme Court in Annapolis for the January 8 hearing. To get a sense of how many people are interesting in riding the bus, BACC has created an online form at bit.ly/baccbus. If you cannot attend, but want to help fund the bus trip and other efforts by BACC, an online donation portal has also been created.

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