Laboring Sons Memorial Ground in Frederick, 2009. Photo from Maryland Historical Trust.

Best of Maryland: “Laboring Sons Memorial Ground” Documentary

By Preservation Maryland

The City of Frederick Audio Visual Department produced a documentary on Laboring Sons Memorial Ground that shares the story of the African American cemetery that pre-dates the Civil War, but was bulldozed to make way for a City park. Fifty years after the park was installed, the City of Frederick addressed the mistake and memorialized the site. Watch the video below:


In 1837, a group of enslaved and freed individuals organized the Laboring Sons Beneficial Society with the goal of establishing a cemetery of their own. In 1851, the organization purchased the 1.17 acre lot for $265. During 1949, the cemetery for Frederick’s African Americans, some whom were veterans, was bulldozed to create a park to be used by whites only. Fifty years later, the City of Frederick corrected the error and rededicated the Cemetery as a memorial park with stone, graveled walkways and brass plaques.

The documentary was a community effort with the help of the City of Frederick, Tourism Council of Frederick County, Frederick County Public Libraries – Maryland Room, African American Resources Cultural and Heritage, Hood College, Frederick Community College, and local historians.

When the documentary was completed, the City of Frederick held a documentary premiere event and invited the public to attend along with Fort Detrick to commemorate the US Colored Troops interred at Laboring Sons. A packed crowed filled City Hall for the premiere event.

View the Documentary

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