Your Views: Community does care about Douglass Cemetery

Your Views: Community does care about Douglass Cemetery
Douglass Cemetery was established in 1895 but has served as a burial ground for Black residents since 1827. (Photo/Gretchen Bulova)

To the editor:

There is much recent history that was not mentioned in the article about Douglass Cemetery, “The fight to preserve Douglass Cemetery,” in the Nov. 25 Alexandria Times and I feel compelled to fill in this glaring gap. To begin, the community of Old Town Village, led by one of our longtime residents, has regularly conducted cleanup of the downed branches, leaves and other debris in the cemetery in cooperation with Christ Church.

In addition, local media reported on the efforts of the boy scouts of Blessed Sacrament to carry out restoration. Many of the headstones were righted by another scout working during the summer. Even a private firm, the insurance company Northwest Mutual, conducted a program of clean up and restoration.

And more recently, since a project of the nearby Old Town Village Condominiums was carried out to work on the drainage ditch between them and the cemetery, I have not seen the flooding reoccur.

Finally, every year on Memorial Day, flags are placed on the graves of veterans.

I truly regret that the impression has been left on readers that this graveyard which is under the control of the city has been neglected. To be sure, the city itself has paid marginal attention to this untended cemetery. When we lobbied the city to have a developer spend funds on this cemetery, this was rejected by the city in favor of a $20,000 contribution to public art.

Let me be clear: There have been considerable private efforts by community groups over the years to show respect to those interred there through a variety of programs. We care, despite what your article seems to have implied.

-Jim Larocco, Alexandria