Racism doesn’t stop when you die!

Richard and Lisa Stuart were walking beside the Potomac River when they noticed an odd rock in the riprap on the water’s edge…“I think that’s a headstone,” Richard Stuart remembers saying to his wife that day four years ago.

Once they started looking, they saw another. And another. With horror, Stuart discovered that a two-mile stretch of erosion control along the riverfront farm he had just purchased was full of grave markers.

A state senator, Stuart enlisted Virginia historians to figure out where they came from. The trail led upriver to the nation’s capital, and illuminated a dark truth about how Washington became the city it is today: The headstones were from Columbian Harmony Cemetery, a historic African American burial ground that was dug up and relocated in 1960 to make way for commercial development.

A prominent Black sculptor, Black Civil War veterans…37,000 Black citizens of the United States of America were removed from their final resting place to make way for a Metro Station, shops and condos. The symbols of their last stop were treated as scrap, ballast for a suburban river bank.