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Remembering Greenmount Cemetery

A Painful Past. A Story Continued.

While the Civil War helped to end slavery in the United States, the decades that followed saw the implementation of “Jim Crow” laws in many places, including Frederick County. These laws were formal or informal ways that kept racial segregation in place without violating the new federal guidelines. Schools, hospitals, stores, restaurants, and municipal parks were all segregated here in Frederick.

The difficult truth is that the Frederick City Hospital (now Frederick Health) did not allow patients of color to receive until 1928. The fight for equality continued in the decades following the Civil War, but many services remained segregated. That even included graveyards and cemeteries.

Greenmount Cemetery

In 1880, the African American community of Frederick established Greenmount Cemetery, making it one of the few places in the City of Frederick where people of color could be buried. At its height, Greenmount Cemetery held nearly 900 graves, including infants, children, and entire families.

As Frederick continued to grow at the turn of the 20th century, Frederick City Hospital purchased an unused portion of Greenmount Cemetery. A few years later, the entire cemetery was put up for sale. In 1924, Frederick City Hospital acquired the land occupied by Greenmount Cemetery. Working with contractors, the hospital believed that these historic remains were moved to Fairview Cemetery, another large African American cemetery on the other side of town.

Unfortunately, during subsequent construction projects in the early 2000s, additional grave sites, headstones, and other funerary items were disturbed, interrupting the eternal slumber of these individuals. Additional remains and artifacts were uncovered in 2004, 2018, and 2022.

Telling Their Story

Partnering with local community organizations, concerned stakeholders, and activists, a working group was established to help preserve the memory of individuals buried at Greenmount Cemetery. In separate ceremonies over the years, the community came together to reinter these individuals now interred at Fairview Cemetery.

To honor their memory, the Greenmount Memorial Garden was built in a sunny, secluded spot near the location where these individuals once rested. With signage telling this story and soon-to-be-installed plaques with the names of those once interred at Greenmount Cemetery, the community can enjoy the beautiful landscaping, covered benches, and a pavilion as they remember those who came before.

It is vital to our community and Frederick Health's leadership that the individuals buried initially at Greenmount Cemetery should not be forgotten. They were mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends, family, and neighbors. We will continue to honor the memory of those interred at Greenmount Cemetery.

The fight for healthcare equity is far from over. Their story is essential to the Frederick Health story, and that story was not told for far too long. Yet the story does not end there. Even the ground where Frederick Health now sits bears the scars of that segregation. An important story sits just beneath the surface.

Knowing Their Names

For a complete list of known individuals once interred at Greenmount Cemetery, please visit XXXXXX.