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Possible Graves Spotted at Historic Black Church Site in Virginia

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Williamsburg Grave ShaftWILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA—The Washington Post reports that the tops of two possible grave shafts have been found at the site of Colonial Williamsburg’s First Baptist Church, a congregation founded by free and enslaved African Americans in 1776. The graves are in an area of the church property traditionally thought to hold burials. Community members at a recent online meeting expressed interest in investigating the identity of the occupants of the graves. Many current members of the church are descendants of past members. “They are wanting to know who those people are so that they can correctly memorialize and mark their graves,” commented Connie Matthews Harshaw, president of the Let Freedom Ring Foundation of the current First Baptist Church congregation. Jack Gary, director of archaeology for Colonial Williamsburg, thinks additional unmarked grave shafts could be found. “This story is familiar to everybody who’s African American that has not been able to wrap their arms around their history,” Harshaw added. “It’s pretty emotional.” To read about a tombstone belonging to one of the Jamestown colony's early governors, go to "Knight Watch."

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