Virginia Boy Scout Recruits His Troop To Help Maintain The Legacy Of A Historically Black Cemetery

Griffin Burchard is seeking to maintain the legacy of those buried at this historically Black grave site.

Douglass Memorial Cemetery
Photo Credit: Billion Graves

| August 19 2019,

9:35 pm

A Boy Scout installed a new sign at the Douglass Memorial Cemetery with his fellow scouts in Alexandria, Virginia.

According to The Washington Times, Griffin Burchard raised the funds to build the new sign at the cemetery honoring the lives of former slaves buried there. 

“The people buried at Douglass Cemetery played an important role in the building of Alexandria and they shouldn’t be forgotten,” Griffin said.

Burchard became interested in cleaning up the cemetery while on a service trip with his Boy Scout Troop 4077 at the Alexandria National Cemetery, The Washington Post reported. The group removed faded wreaths from graves at the National Cemetery, but Burchard kept thinking about the less preserved gravesite down the street. 

“I noticed that, unlike all the other cemeteries in the complex, it was not being kept up. There were fallen leaves, signs of flooding and trees with limbs hanging so far over you couldn’t even read the sign that says, ‘Douglass,’” Burchard said

Burchard worked with his Boy Scout Troop and a few Girl Scouts to rake and refresh the land. His parents pitched in and helped him to trim the trees.

Burchard was also able to raise $400 to install a new sign at the cemetery by doing yardwork for his neighbors.

The public unveiling of the new sign at the historically Black gravesite was meant to coincide with the 400th year commemoration of the arrival of enslaved Africans in Virginia.

The new sign includes more information about the abolitionist, orator and acclaimed writer, Frederick Douglass and other notable people buried there. 

The sign reads one of Douglass' most famous quotes, "Without a struggle, there can be no progress." 

Records show that roughly 1,900 Black people were buried at the Douglass cemetery between 1890 and 1975. 

As a result of the Burchard's dedication to the land, the state is now funding research at the cemetery to determine how many people are buried there. 

Burchard is still looking for someone to maintain the cemetery year-round. 




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