Each year, the list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places shines a light on the threats facing significant sites of American history. It continues to be a powerful, galvanizing tool for historic preservation, with over 350 sites listed and only a handful lost.
On this year’s list is Pierce Chapel African Cemetery in Midland, Georgia. Established circa 1828, it is one of the oldest burial grounds for Africans enslaved at several plantations in Harris County, Georgia.
However, the cemetery has deteriorated over time and suffered damage due to recent use of heavy construction equipment. The descendant-led Hamilton Hood Foundation is leading efforts to raise awareness about this significant place and preserve Pierce Chapel and its stories for future generations.
For many years, African American burial grounds across the nation like Pierce Chapel African Cemetery have suffered from a state of disrepair or are inaccessible, and many remain undocumented. These sacred places for tribute and memory are integral to the shared story of our American heritage.
As part of the FY 2023 omnibus spending package, Congress included provisions of the African American Burial Grounds Preservation Act that authorized a National Park Service-administered grant program to be implemented in consultation with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and African American heritage groups.
Please join the National Trust in asking your elected officials to support the newly authorized African American Burial Grounds Preservation Program by approving full funding of $3 million in FY 2024 appropriations.