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Governor and Mayor Join DPSCS in Honoring a Treasured - and Now Restored – Historic Landmark: Baltimore’s Mt. Auburn Cemetery

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(May 14, 2012) --- Thanks in large measure to the impressive Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) Public Safety Works inmate restorative justice initiative, a Baltimore landmark celebrated its restoration today. Dozens of citizens, including Governor O’Malley, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, legislators, United Methodist Church leaders, the president of Morgan State University, and Mt. Auburn board members and volunteers, came out to cut the ribbon celebrating the restoration of Mt. Auburn Cemetery.

Once known as The City of the Dead For Colored People, Mt. Auburn was the only place in Baltimore where a person of color could be laid to rest with dignity. Interred in its more than 50,000 graves are great civil rights leaders, publishers, athletes, and military heroes.

Begun in September 2008, the DPSCS Mt. Auburn Public Safety Works effort has included 41 inmates, who have hauled more than 150 tons of debris and brush, filling 300 dumpsters in the process. Their labor has turned the overgrown cemetery into a place visible to the neighboring community for the first time in years. Hundreds of graves, long buried in head-high overgrowth, are now clearly visible to loved ones.

Thanks to a grant from the Abell Foundation, inmate crews and their equipment will be funded for a full year to continue these efforts. The grant will also enable Morgan State’s history and geneology students to help identify historic elements and gravesites, and, eventually, re-set some tombstones.

The cemetery is owned and maintained by Sharp Street United Methodist in Baltimore, a historic church whose congregants and supporters have labored for years to keep up with the difficult topography and massive size of the 34 acre resting place.

DPSCS is happy to join with many dedicated volunteers and with Sharp Street United Methodist Church to help restore this historic landmark.