Skip to Content Accessibility Information

Historic African American Cemetery Project

St. Stephens AME Church and Cemetery, Talbot County – FY2017 & FY2018 AAHPP grant recipient.

African American cemeteries hold important stories, landscapes, artwork, and genealogical
clues, in addition to the remains of those who have gone before us. Unfortunately, cemeteries
and graveyards face many preservation challenges, including threats from development,
abandonment, vandalism, damage and decay, and inadequate legal protections. Historic African
American cemeteries are particularly at risk.

At the direction of the Maryland General Assembly, the Maryland Commission on African
American History and Culture (MCAAHC) and the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT, part of the
Maryland Department of Planning) have completed a study documenting the needs of
historic African American cemeteries. The study addresses:

  • issues facing historic African American cemeteries, including identification, restoration,
    protection, preservation, maintenance or commemoration activities;
  • approaches in other states regarding cemetery identification, restoration,
    protection, preservation, maintenance, or commemoration activities;
  • the design of a grant fund for the purpose of identifying, preserving, or maintaining
    historic African American cemeteries; and,
  • ways in which MCAAHC can work with the descendants of those interred in African
    American cemeteries and burial grounds, in this and future efforts.

MCAAHC and MHT created this report with feedback from stakeholders including the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites, Preservation Maryland, descendants of individuals interred in historic African American cemeteries, and other interested parties.  Thank you to everyone who participated in this process!

Cover of Historic African American Cemeteries Report 2022

Questions? Contact:

Chanel Compton, Executive Director, Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture –  

Elizabeth Hughes, Director and State Historic Preservation Officer, Maryland Historical Trust – 

Updated July 6, 2022