FODSC

Preserve | Restore | Maintain

The History

“Giving Voice to a Community that was Silenced”

By Norma Fields

Several years ago, after my first meeting as a member of the Historic Dumfries Virginia, Inc. (HDVI), Board of Directors, longtime board member and then HDVI treasurer, Gary West, said to me, “you might be interested to know there is a Slave Cemetery in the, “clump of trees”, behind Dumfries Elementary School”. He told me Prince William county schools owned the property and that he began to hear rumors about the cemetery when he moved to Dumfries many years ago. Gary was right. I was excited and very interested to know more about a slave cemetery in the Town of Dumfries.

 After talking to Gary, I went home and immediately contacted my mentor and very good friend, Prince William County, “Volunteer Extraordinaire”, Joann Bagnerise. The next day Joann and I went to find the cemetery. Just as Gary said, we found it behind Dumfries Elementary School. The area was surrounded by a fence.

 In 2009 Prince William County Schools commissioned Thunderbird Archeology, Inc., a division of Wetland Studies and Solutions of Gainesville, to conduct a cemetery delineation of the property. Thunderbird found burial sites in the clump of trees. Based on this finding Prince William County Schools agreed to fence and preserve the grounds.

The fenced in area was overgrown, unkept, and used as an occasional dumping ground for trash. The graves were desecrated. Immediately juxtaposed to the Slave Cemetery was the very pristine, Dumfries Public Cemetery. Not surprised by the cemetery’s condition, Joann and I were excited and honored to have been given the opportunity to give the humble people buried in the, “clump of trees”, a dignity in death they had not known in life. We set out to reclaim this cemetery in honor of our slave ancestors, known and unknown. This would be our small effort to memorialize the African American men, women, and children who endured untold and unimaginable, trials, tribulations, and tragedies over 250 years of American Chattel Slavery.

We determined we would make this area pristine and elegant, nothing less than what the Ancestors deserved from us, and we would give them a voice.

Joann called Betty Covington, then Potomac District School Board Representative. Mrs. Covington enthusiastically supported the idea of reclaiming the cemetery from the beginning. She gave Joann a copy of the Thunderbird study and put me in contact with the county archeologist, Justin Patton, and Randy Wolf, Director Office of Facilities Services. Joann and I enlisted the help of then Prince William County Branch NAACP President, Ralph Smith. In 2011 the School Administration gave the NAACP entry rights into the cemetery for the purposes of restoring, landscaping and maintaining the cemetery. A core group of NAACP members including Tony Fields, William Stackhouse, John Steinbach, Shirley Peoples, Joann and I were soon joined by members of other community organizations: All AS ONE, Unity in the Community, Triangle Lodge Number 293, Pi Lambda Lambda Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Top Ladies of Distinction, National Congress of Black Women, and PWC residents Harry Wiggins, Nancy Lyall, Bret Coulson, former Dumfries Mayor Gerald Foreman and his family and the list of individual and organizational volunteers continues to grow.

 The clean-up has been a slow process and has taken several years but we are finally approaching the culmination of our journey. In June 2018, Friends of the Dumfries Slave Cemetery, a 501c3 organization was established. Our purpose is to honor and give voice to the community of people buried in the Dumfries Slave Cemetery. As slaves they were denied a voice but we, as their posterity, can give them a voice by preserving, maintaining, and restoring, their gravesites; by preserving and promoting their memory, and by promoting education and awareness of the historical role African Americans played in the Town of Dumfries and its surrounding area.

Our Purpose

Preserve, maintain, and restore the slave cemetery located in the town of Dumfries, Virginia including the graves, burial grounds, and burial plots

To promote and improve awareness of the history and care of the Dumfries Slave Cemetery

To preserve and promote the memory of those persons interred within the Dumfries Slave Cemetery

Promote education and awareness of the historical role African Americans played in the Town of Dumfries and its surrounding area

Upcoming Events

Dumfries 275th Anniversary

Friends of Dumfries Slave Cemetery

Invites the Public to Attend a Special Service

Celebrating and Honoring the United States Colored Troops

May 11, 2024 at 2:00 PM

Dumfries Slave Cemetery

Located behind Dumfries Elementary School: 3990 Cameron St., Dumfries, VA

Leadership & Board of Directors

Short bio coming soon…

Short bio coming soon…

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Principal Occupation: Chief Operating Officer for Intelligent Cranium Helmets LLC, headquartered in Springfield, Virginia and Co-Owner of Changing Lives Investments (Woodbridge, VA & Louisville, KY).

Business Experience: Anthony Dodson is a retired Armor & Acquisition Professional who served in the military for 20+ years as a Commissioned Officer, and retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel as an Acquisition professional in the Army. Mr. Dodson has over 33 years experience as an Acquisition Professional with a Level 3 certification and a graduate of National Louis University with a Master’s of Science in Human Resources Development. Currently, this proud veteran is serving as Chairman of the Deacons Ministry for Solid Rock Christian Church, Manassas, VA; BOD Member for RealShopTalk Inc., and Treasurer for FODSC.

Short bio coming soon…

Short bio coming soon…

Short bio coming soon…

Short bio coming soon…

Short bio coming soon…

Short bio coming soon…

Support Us

Donate or Become a Member Today

Help us honor and give voice to the community of people buried in the Dumfries Slave Cemetery. As slaves they were denied a voice but we, as their posterity, can give them a voice by preserving, maintaining, and restoring, their gravesites; by preserving and promoting their memory, and by promoting education and awareness of the historical role African Americans played in the Town of Dumfries and its surrounding area.

The FODSC Leaders would like to thank you in advance for your General Support and/or Membership donation. FODSC is a 501(c)(3) organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN: 82-3540230, and your donation IS tax deductible. Your donation goes directly to supporting additional research and requirements needed to continue this huge effort. Please reach out to the FODSC leadership team should you have any questions, comments, or concerns at info@fodsc.org. A team member will return your inquiry promptly. Thank you again for your donation and God Bless!

Additional Fund Raising Coming Soon

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