Our Own Environmental Sanctuary
â€œThe weeds and tilted monuments of the grounds of Mount Auburn convey an underlying beauty; a spirit of poetry, imagination, and discovery. Views to the harbor, the hills and contours of the land, and the winding paths, which create mystery and relief, give additional meaning to a city landscape often too simplistic to comprehend.â€ (Jones 238)
Mount Auburn Cemetery was, for decades, a source of pride for Baltimore’s Black community; but off-and-on throughout the years, as the Sharp Street UMC Congregation has fundraised and struggled to keep the grounds’ ownership in local, Black hands, the cemetery has struggled. Today, with partnership from WCEDC, Mount Auburn Cemetery, and many more partners, the grounds are beginning a transformation into a proper Memorial Park via a communal Ecological and Restoration Plan. While throughout the years, the grounds have seen family reunions, anniversaries, memorial celebrations, worship tours, and regular DIY family visits and maintenance, the cemetery leadership seeks to transition interest from the grounds from just a cemetery and academic heritage site, into a proper conservation preserve, and as groundskeepers deem practical, open the cemetery to the public.
- Imagine where rather than simply having seasonal lawn cuttings, the grounds can, in areas where visitors are sparse and where archiving has taken place, become home to a biodiverse group of native perennials, wildflowers, tree sapplings, and other wild brush.
- Imagine Saturday morning nature walks, birding tours, and weaving the cemetery’s streets into the wider trails network of the Gwynns Falls and Middle Branch’s trails.
- Imagine an online resource to quickly locate a grave, learn the stories of Black Baltimoreans, and regular class field trips where tour groups can reflect the history of both those interred at the cemetery as well as those whose lives shape Westport, Mount Winans, and Cherry Hill’s history today.
We invite you to learn more about this project by
- Joining us on a nature walk through the cemetery down to Middle Branch Park,
- Attending a film screening of the cemetery’s own documentary, â€œSacred Groundâ€
- Contributing to the cemetery’s gravestone map and library
- Sharing your relative’s story on the cemetery’s digital museum blog series
- Attending a community meeting at the Boys & Girls Club across from the cemetery on the other side of Florence Cumming Park (beside Westport Public Housing)
- Giving feedback on planned site renovations, gravestone restorations, trail signage, and pathways,
- Contributing to our cemetery restoration endowment, and/or even
- Attending a Sunday or evening service at Sharp Street UMC.