Alexandria's Freedmen's Cemetery: A Legacy of Freedom
By Char McCargo Bah
Up until the early 2000's, there was a gas station in Alexandria, Virginia at the corner of South Washington Street and Church Street, up on a bluff overlooking the Capitol Beltway. In 1997 two women, Lillie Finklea and Louise Massoud started their campaign to revert this land back to its former state, as a cemetery for many interred African Americans who were buried there during and after the civil war. They had fled to Alexandria to gain their freedom. The cemetery stretches out underneath what is Washington Street today. Many children and babies died under the harsh circumstances, and many of their graves are marked above where they lie, in the brick sidewalk next to the cemetery fence, by a light colored brick. The City of Alexandria bought that land, removed the two buildings there, and with the help of many people, made it into a cemetery once more. Char Bah has written this book which tells the stories of the families whose ancestors are buried there.