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Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Designated a UNESCO Slave Route Project site of memory

       We have an unprecedented opportunity to rediscover two centuries of lost African American history in Georgetown and to develop a historic memorial park as a sacred space for quiet reflection, the respectful commemoration of the past, and to EDUCATE.

        These cemeteries serve to preserve and create awareness of the heritage, contributions, and sacrifices these founders of Georgetown made during their lifetimes, and provide insight to their families and the community in which they lived during a time of deep segregation. 

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Wednesday, June 19

JUNETEENTH in Georgetown

Come join us for a day of service and learning on Juneteenth - let's make a difference together!

Please join us on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, at 11 AM for a day of service and learning at DC's oldest Black cemeteries - Mt. Zion and the Female Union Band Society Cemeteries. Mt. Zion was established in 1808, and the Female Union Band Society Cemetery was established in 1842.


Last Juneteenth, Nannie's grave, a little girl born in 1848 and who died in 1856, was desecrated when someone set her grave on fire and destroyed the toys on her grave that she had been given over decades.

This Juneteenth, we invite friends and visitors to tour the cemeteries and then volunteer to clean up, pull invasive weeds, preserve grave markers, fill in holes, and beautify the landscape. There is a lot to do, and no experience is necessary. We encourage you to bring your partner, friend, parent, or school-age child with you for a rewarding day of learning and volunteering.


Juneteenth is a federal holiday recognizing the end of slavery in 1865. However, it should be noted that DC Emancipation Day was April 16, 1862, Maryland on Nov 4, 1864, and Virginia on Jan 1, 1863.


Please sign up so we can stay in touch about the details of the day!  Click here to RSVP your attendance (use the "Reserve a Spot" button)


See you on Wednesday, June 19th!   (Wear long pants, sneakers and bring gloves - however we do have some gloves if you forge.)


The Wholeness of a People Diminishes When the Ancestors Are Not Honored -- African Proverb

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Lisa Fager - recipient of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution medal for "Excellence in Historic Preservation"

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"It is with great pleasure that I present Ms. Lisa Fager, the Executive Director of the Mt. Zion / Female Union Band Historical Park, with our Excellence in Historic Preservation medal," said Stephanie Green at the annual meeting of the Constitution Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. 

Long-time volunteers and financial supporters of the cemeteries, the Constitution Chapter of the DAR sought and received approval to award Lisa their first medal for her work in preserving the burial grounds and educating the public on the lives of the interred and historical Black Georgetown.

Click here to see the full citation and photos from the event

"APRILTEENTH" -- DC Emancipation Day!

Thank you for joining us to honor those who endured the unthinkable.  Nana led us in prayer and a libation ceremony. All assembled read the names of persons emancipated on April 16, 1862 as Sebastien from @dcstrings played "Lift Every Voice Sing" on violin. Lisa Fager, Erika Berg, Neville Waters, Garrett Lowe and Lauret Savoy provided insights to family members and the biographies of  other persons buried in the grounds.  Erin Zielinski guided the group in broadcasting wildflower seeds - these flowers will help to restore habit, control erosion, and provide food for our honey bees. 

Click here to see photos and video of the celebration



Do you know these historic Georgetown residents, interred in our sacred grounds? 


Formerly enslaved, one of the earliest Black Pastors of the Mount Zion Methodist Episcopal Church, he raised money and purchased the freedom of his enslaved wife, and their children, from three different enslavers (Reverend Joseph Cartwright).

An 1883 graduate of the Howard University School of Medicine and Pharmacy, and the physician to many in the Black "Herring Hill" Georgetown community (Dr. Collin Barton Crusor Jr.)

The last known individual to be buried in the sacred grounds, at 100 years of age, and the last President of the Female Union Band Society (Mary Logan Jennings)

A descendant of Ebenezer Eliason (Ebenezer provided land to the early Montgomery Street Methodist Congregation for their burying ground), and graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, first in his class of 1819 (Captain William Eliason)

A twin, who experienced enslavement, and subsequent emancipation. He worked at the Bureau of Engraving and as a Reporter for The Washington Bee.  President of the Emancipation Club and the Georgetown Republican Club (James Lewis Turner) 

Enslaved for most of her life at "Belle Vue House" (today's Dumbarton House), the home of her enslavers, the Whitall and Rittenhouse families (Gracy Duckett).


His father was Dolly Madison's enslaved White House servant. Himself enslaved in Virginia, he fled and served in the U.S. Army, Colored Cavalry - fighting in the battle at Petersburg, and in the first Army units to attack the Confederate Capitol of Richmond (Franklin Jennings)  

The Foundation encourages everyone to "seize the opportunity”  and expand their knowledge of historic Black Georgetown and Washington, DC using our Cemeteries Information System   Volunteers, family members, and noted academics have provided numerous updates to the information base - including biographical documents and information details of family relations, enslavement, manumission, emancipation, marriage, worship, education, occupations or businesses, military service, causes of death, obituaries, and Last Testament / Wills.  

Discover the Black teachers, doctors, pastors, bakers, printers, barbers, cart drivers, masons, seamstresses, cigar makers, musicians, and military service members who lived in historic Georgetown and Washington DC’s integrated yet segregated community.

And PLEASE - help us to create more complete biographies of our interred by submitting information, photos, and original document images using the Submit a Tip  feature of the CIS.

Thank You! - to the individual donors, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for the District of Columbia, the Blackberry Foundation, and the Chevy Chase Land Company, for funding the initial development of a first-ever historic cemeteries information system.

Please consider making a tax-deductible financial or equities gift, to fund the continued engineering support and enhancement of the Cemeteries Information System.

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The origins of today’s Black History Month can be traced to historian Mr. Carter G. Woodson’s 1915 experience at the Lincoln Jubilee – a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation and the freeing of the enslaved in Galveston, Texas. The Jubilee featured exhibitions of Black heritage and culture. Negro History Week, the second week of February, was announced by Mr. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1926. Woodson stated at the time “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated".

A Black History Month was first proposed by Black educators and students at Kent State University in February 1969, with the first celebration taking place the following January-February. Six years later, with Black History Month being honored in educational institutions, centers of Black culture, and community centers across the nation, President Gerald Ford urged all Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”.

Thank you! Colonial Dames and Friends - for sponsoring and placing wreaths at memorials at the burial grounds

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NY Times 092623 America's Black Cemeteri

America’s Black Cemeteries

and Three Women Trying

to Save Them

In Georgia, Texas and Washington, D.C.,

three Black women are working to preserve desecrated African American burial grounds and the stories they hold.

By Elizabeth Williamson

Reporting from Washington

Published Sept 27, 2023  Updated September 28, 2023

Juneteenth - Joyous celebration at the historic cemeteries, followed by intense sorrow

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Georgetown History Alive at Mt. Zion Cemetery on Juneteenth 


Mount Zion Cemetery-Female Union Band Society Cemetery, located at 27th Street NW and Mill Road NW, was very much alive on a most appropriate day, Juneteenth, June 19. Hundreds of people visited this quiet, humble and historic Black burial grounds — where thousands of African Americans were laid to rest — for a walking tour, full of history and personal stories.   Continued..

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Someone burned a beloved child’s grave in a historic Black cemetery

People have long left toys and cards for a girl named Nannie. After Juneteenth, those gifts were found destroyed.


Perspective by Theresa Vargas

Metro columnist

June 21, 2023 at 5:52 p.m. EDT

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They are all gone. The laminated birthday cards. The plastic toy piano. The doll with the blue bow on her head.

Strangers have carried toys into one of the oldest Black cemeteries in the nation’s capital and placed them near the grave marker of a girl who lived long ago and not long enough. They brought them for Nannie, and for years, to the amazement of people who regularly visit the cemetery, many of those gifts remained undisturbed.

The weather didn’t destroy them. Animals didn’t carry them off. Visitors didn’t steal them.

Then came Tuesday. On that day, as Lisa Fager tells it, when she went to show a group of George Washington University students Nannie’s marker, she found that someone had set the site on fire. Instead of toys and cards, she saw melted plastic and blackened stone. Continued

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Arson suspected in historic Black Georgetown cemetery

Items at the gravesite of a child were found burned at a historic Black cemetery in Georgetown. News4’s Derrick Ward reports.

Limited Edition Prints by Lindsey Brittain Collins

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Nannie's Grave 2016
Hand-embellished giclee print on paper
24 3/4 x 20 inches
Edition of 25

I wanted to personally reach out and provide an update on the limited-edition print sale of Nannie's Grave 2016 benefiting Mt. Zion/Female Union Band Historic Memorial Park. I'm excited to share that the response to the sale has been overwhelming, and only a few prints remain! 

Nannie's Grave holds a special place in my heart, and I would love to share the profound story with you. You can read more about Nannie's story below, and I encourage you to learn more about Mt. Zion Cemetery here.

These exquisite prints measure 24 3/4" x 20" and are priced at $1,000 plus shipping. Each print is hand-embellished, signed by me, and printed on archival paper. This limited-edition print run will only include 25 prints and I am thrilled to donate a portion of the sales proceeds to Mt. Zion/Female Union Band Historic Memorial Park in honor of Nannie's 175th birthday.  By participating in this sale, you acquire stunning artwork and contribute to preserving Georgetown's rich Black history.

If you want to acquire one of the few remaining prints or request more information, please email Take advantage of this opportunity to celebrate Nannie's enduring legacy and become a proud owner of this exceptional artwork. 


Warmest regards,

Lindsey Brittain Collins

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The story of Nannie's Grave serendipitously unfolded during my research of the Black history of the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. After learning about its potential connection to the Underground Railroad, I was drawn to Mt. Zion/Female Union Band Historic Memorial Cemetery, a historic Black cemetery in Georgetown. Tucked away behind a tree, I discovered Nannie's grave, born on May 26, 1848, and passing away on May 18, 1856, just shy of her 8th birthday. What caught my attention was the unique display at her headstone—a collection of antique dolls and a laminated birthday card. There was indescribable energy emanating from her grave, leaving me wondering about the person who had such a strong connection to this little girl from the past.

When I revisited Nannie's gravesite a year later, I discovered a new antique doll and another laminated birthday card, reaffirming the mystery and capturing my ongoing fascination. Little is known about Nannie's life and lineage, and her enslavement status remains uncertain as her headstone bears no last name. The identity of her visitor also remains a mystery. The enduring allure of Nannie's story and the unwavering commitment of her visitor continues to captivate me. 

Since 2016 I've created paintings documenting my encounters with her grave to honor Nannie's legacy and preserve her memory. Through my paintings, I aim to underscore the significance of Black stories, histories, and lives. The tale of Nannie and her mysterious visitor naturally unfolds as I delve deeper into Georgetown's forgotten narratives, paying homage to the resilient souls who came before us. Nannie's spirit propels me forward, reminding me of the importance of unearthing and honoring the stories that shape our shared history.

Check out the story the Washington Post wrote about Nannie's Grave!

Thank you for joining us for our Emancipation Day gathering this past April 16th.

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A sacred space used both as a passage on the Underground Railroad and the afterlife. On this special day we honored the ancestors with a libation ceremony and reading of the names of the 3100 who received their freedom and heard what the day was like from CR Gibbs, a DC native, historian, and co-author of Black Georgetown Remembered.

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Over the past few decades, as Georgetown grew in prominence as one of the District’s top tourist locations, the Mount Zion-Female Union Band Society Cemetery served as a reminder of the neighborhood’s rich African American history.

That’s due, in part, to preservationists who’ve fought tooth and nail to memorialize Mount Zion-Female Union Band Society Cemetery. Such efforts have manifested in the District government’s infusion of $1.6 million for a nearby storm drainage system.

Most recently, it also inspired the D.C. Council’s commemoration of the Mount Zion-Female Union Band Society Cemetery’s 215th anniversary with the passage of a ceremonial resolution, approved by the entire council on Feb. 6, recognizing the cemetery’s national significance as a sacred site. (For complete story, click here)

Reclaiming Community Identity Through Opera: Voices of Zion

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Community resilience rests on shared experience and history. And while lectures, historic markers, and walking tours commemorate what has come before, only the arts can bring those events—and the people who made them happen—back to life.

Voices of Zion—a new opera staged last month in Washington DC at Georgetown’s historic Dumbarton Methodist Church—underscored the role that artistic endeavors can play in this process. Featuring an original libretto written by Jarrod Lee, and music composed by 20-year-old UDC student and Duke Ellington High graduate Ronald “Trey” Walton III, Voices of Zion drew an audience of several dozen Washingtonians—young and old, White, and Black, theater buffs and community griots—to behold the coming back to life of spirits long forgotten in the city’s history (read more...)

March 25th - the International Day of Remembrance of the 30 Million Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

The"Rhythms of Resistance" was an online cultural event – hosted by the United Nations to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  


The program included statements by United Nations officials and national leaders, conversations with eminent personalities, musical performances, and compelling videos about slavery and racism.  


The recording of the program is available through this link

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The Mount Zion - Female Union Band Society Historic Memorial Park (cemeteries) fulfills the criteria set by the UNESCO Slave Route Project in conjunction with the International Network of Managers of Sites and Itineraries of Memory.  

The Foundation is seeking your help to erect a Ghana Memory Stone monument for the display of the plaque designating the historic cemeteries a UNESCO The Slave Route: Resistance, Liberty, Heritage Site of Memory.  The bronze plaque addresses the history of the slave trade and slavery through the prism of intercultural dialogue, a culture of peace and reconciliation.  The monument and plaque will be a prominent feature of the historic burial grounds serving to create awareness and educate the many visitors who come to reflect, and learn about the lives of the enslaved, freed Black people, and their descendants, and the contributions they made to historic Georgetown and Washington DC.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to fund the costs of fabricating, transporting, and installing this Special Ghana Memory Stone UNESCO Site of Memory monument. 

Ground Penetrating Geophysical Surveys Confirms Burials in Rock Creek Facing Hillside  and Land Adjacent to Mill Road

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Jarrod Burks, PhD. and Alexander Corkum, PhD. recently delivered their ground-penetrating geophysical survey findings to the Foundation Board.  This new survey represents an expansion of the scope and methodology of work conducted in 2018. The geophysical survey work included magnetometry, ground-penetrating radar, and electromagnetic conductivity covering an area of 1.2 acres of the cemeteries.


The magnetic and radar surveys extended the boundaries of the area surveyed in 2018. The conductivity survey is a new technique that focused on the flatter, previously surveyed ground of the cemeteries.


The survey identified an additional 24 graves over the 116 which had been previously detected. Clear evidence of rows of graves was found in the eastern half of the Mount Zion Cemetery, and these indications appear to extend down the slope at the Cemetery’s northern edge.

The team also conducted photogrammetry work to produce three-dimensional models of 10 headstones standing or laying in the cemeteries. Finally, a real-time kinematic global navigation satellite system was used to more accurately tie the existing local grid system into a geographic coordinate system. The new mapping results have been integrated into a geographic information system including all the results and cemetery features mapped to date 

The full geophysical report of methodologies employed and findings of this report, and other historical survey documents, are available in the Resources section of the website.

Dr. Burks and his team are currently surveying National Park Service land along Rock Creek to determine if previously undocumented burials are present.  This land was previously owned by Mount Zion Church and the Female Union Band Society Trust.  Survey results will guide NPS modernization of the public trail located in the historic cemetery grounds.

Bethesda Metro and Washington DC Rotarians join together and Fund a Caretakers Shed  To Store Preservation & restoration tools and supplies

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(From right) Sheldon Ray and Ellie Gill, leaders of the Washington DC and Bethesda Metro Rotary Clubs respectively, join with Rotarians to present a generous financial donation to Mount Zion - Female Union Band Society Historic Park Foundation Executive Director Lisa Fager to fund the acquisition of a "Caretakers Shed". 

The shed provides secure storage for tools and supplies used by volunteer groups to restore and preserve the Cemetery grounds and stone artifacts. The availability of the shed enabled tools and supplies to be removed from the cemetery vault - the vault is an important element of cemetery and underground railroad history and featured in education programs. Rotarians and other volunteers assembled the shed in early 2022. 

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Colonial Dames Holiday Wreath Sale Provides Valuable Financial Support For Mount Zion - Female Union Band Foundation Programs.   Decoration of Graves Brought Our Community Together - To Learn About and Honor Those Buried in the Sacred Grounds.

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The Historical Activities Committee of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in DC held their first community Holiday Wreath Sale - giving all proceeds to the Foundation for program support.


A large number of Dames, Church and Foundation leaders, and friends from the community decorated graves with donated wreaths, while being educated and inspired by Lisa Fager, Foundation Executive Director, Neville Waters, Foundation President, and Garett Lowe and Thomas Dunkenfield of Eagle Eye Tutoring as they shared insights to the histories of the cemeteries and to the lives of those who are buried in the sacred grounds.  

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Casey Trees, Washington DC and the Laudato Tree Movement Restore Mount Zion and Female union Band Society Burial Grounds Tree Canopy


Phil Downey, of the Laudato Tree Movement, and Amelia Lesniak, Project Manager at Casey Trees, worked with the Mount Zion and Female Union Band Society Historic Park Foundation to create a plan to enhance the tree canopy of the Cemeteries.


The planting of the trees honors the lives of those buried in the grounds, replaces lost canopy, mitigates erosion, provides natural habitat, and maintains the pleasant esthetic of the burial grounds.  

The tree species selected are native to the region, long-lived, and require little maintenance, and include:

Species                                                                 Common Name

Betula nigra 'Dura-Heat'                                        River Birch

Ulmus americana 'Jefferson'                                 Jefferson, American Elm

Quercus nuttallii                                                     Nutall Oak

Acer rubrum 'October Glory'                                  October Glory, Red Maple

Quercus lyrata                                                       Overcup Oak

Quercus coccinea                                                  Scarlet Oak

Nyssa sylvatica 'Wildfire'                                       Wildfire, Black Gum

Ten locations were identified for tree planting. The Casey Trees team planting 9 to 12-foot tall trees at the burial grounds (Volunteers - we will need your help to provide each planted tree with 10 gallons of water every two weeks through the winter).

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Metro Bethesda and Washington DC Rotarians turn out (Again!) to honor those that rest in the burial grounds - restoring the grounds, removing invasive growth, and cleaning monument and grave stones

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Please Consider Our Cemeteries in Your Gift Giving Plans

Your generosity will help preserve our sacred burial grounds and support our education programs.  You can assist us by enrolling in the Amazon Smile program, or by funding one or more of the volunteer-led initiatives described below.  THANK YOU for your support!

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A Gift of Landscaping Materials

Your donation of $25, $50, $75, or $100 will fund much-needed landscaping materials such as gravel, topsoil, mulch, and grass seed. Your support enables our volunteers to keep our grounds safe for visitors, address erosion caused by stormwater and ground subsidence, and stabilize monuments. 

A Gift of Gravestone Restoration

Your donation of $75 will fund restorative cleaning, mending, and remounting of a historic gravestone, such as Matilda Cartwright’s, the daughter of freed slave, Lewis Cartwright (both interred in the Female Union Band Society Cemetery)

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For Information on the other ways you can financially support the preservation and restoration of the burial grounds, and our awareness and education programs, please read our "Support Us" resource.

JAMES THOMAS O'MEARA           September 25, 1943 - December 18, 2019

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“When I couldn’t wrestle an abstraction or put a name to a feeling, I inevitably turned to my dad. He was good at helping me understand things—not just by explaining them, but by talking them through, making me an equal partner in the enterprise. He was an expert listener, too: his eyes and smile radiated interest and reflection. Over the years, the topic of race arose in our conversations as a result of national news and from moments in my parents’ lives, either recent or resurfaced in memory. Living in a community of near-homogenous racial demographics, I relied on my mom and dad’s anecdotes and broader awareness of institutional racism to fill in the gaps of my own experience and education. My dad was the first to explain redlining to me, the process that resulted in greater racial and economic segregation in his home city of Chicago. He also recounted stories of colleagues who had been obliged to respond to others’ racist comments and did so with savvy and dignity. These episodes helped my dad understand the additional burdens of advancing professionally as a person of color, and they deepened his respect for these colleagues.” (click for full story)

Mount Zion & Oak Hill From the trails of Rock Creek Park to its sacred grounds

By Megan O’Meara

(Republished October, 2021, from the Virtual Memorial of James Thomas O’Meara - click for full story)

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By Theresa Vargas


October 9, 2021

While working to restore two historic Black cemeteries, she discovered a construction crew digging on burial grounds

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Lisa Fager uses the word “appalling” three times as she pans her phone’s camera across a strip of land that was once part of one of the oldest Black cemeteries in the nation’s capital.


In front of her, men in orange vests stand alongside a dirt path pocked with newly dug holes, showing where they’ve disturbed the earth and who knows what else.

Fager, still holding her camera up, sounds shaken and angry as she explains what she’s seeing: a construction crew working on a bike path, even though it sits on a burial ground that never saw bodies disinterred.

“It’s a cemetery for God’s sake!” she says. “ . . . I have pictures of the church doing baptisms at the water. How close were the bodies? What have they dug out?” (read more)

Black Georgetown Rediscovered: Georgetown University students Help Preserve History at a UNESCO Slave Route Project site of memory

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Students enrolled in the Black Georgetown Rediscovered course toured the Mount Zion – Female Union Band Society cemeteries and helped document the estimated 9,000 African American residents of Georgetown who are buried at the historic site.

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The course is part of the Summer Hilltop Immersion Program, a five-week summer program of academic, experiential learning, and social activities for the Class of 2024 and newly admitted transfer students.

Taught by Andrew Davenport, a doctoral candidate studying U.S. history and a research assistant with the Georgetown Slavery Archive, Black Georgetown Rediscovered examines Georgetown’s forgotten – and then remembered – Black history through walking tours and the book and accompanying documentary, Black Georgetown Remembered.

Lisa Fager, executive director of the Mount Zion – Female Union Band Society cemeteries, led the tour. Students then entered headstone inscriptions into a database developed by Mary Beth Corrigan, curator of the Collections on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation for the Lauinger Booth Family Center for Special Collections, in partnership with Fager’s team. 

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Black Georgetown Remembered

Students have been reading Black Georgetown Remembered and watching the documentary (click  image) which compiles recollections from members of Georgetown’s Black community, some of whom still reside in the neighborhood.

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Juneteenth - A Day for Education, Reflection, and Appreciation

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"Juneteenth", also called Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day, observed annually on June 19, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.  

Lisa Fager, Mount Zion - Female Union Band Society Foundation Executive Director, Rotarians, and friends gathered at the burial grounds to celebrate this special day, and learn how emancipation, in actual practice, occurred across the territory of the United States. Many attendees gave of themselves, working on various grounds preservation activities.

Lisa Fager Executive Director and Educat

Headstones and History: Black Lives Matter(ed) Education Program

Eagle Eye Tutoring Black Lives Matter(ed

Learn about this unique education program, created through a collaboration with Thomas A. Duckenfeld III, Esq. and Garett Lowe, PhD of Eagle Eye TutoringHeadstones and History: Black Lives Matter(ed) provides participants the opportunity to conduct original historical research and uncover some of the hidden histories of Georgetown's African Americans.

HARVARD LAW TODAY                    Harvard Law Bulletin - Fall 2020

Alumni Focus  Hidden History Teaching a class concentrated on two predominantly African American cemeteries, Tom Duckenfield ’89 helps uncover the stories of people who may have been forgotten but whose lives mattered

By Lewis Rice, October 15, 2020

The Ancestors Smile!  DC Emancipation Celebration At the Cemeteries

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Visit our "Resources" page

We have updated information explaining some of the symbols carved on headstones in the burial grounds, and the roster of our known military veterans.

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The community gathered at the historic  Mount Zion - Female Union Band Society cemeteries on Friday to remember ancestors on the District's Emancipation Day - the 159th year since the end of slavery in Washington, DC. 

April 16th, 1862 marks the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. Over 3,000 enslaved persons were freed eight months before the Emancipation Proclamation liberated slaves in the South. The District also has the distinction of being the only part of the United States to have compensated slave owners for freeing enslaved persons they held.

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The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the District of Columbia

Hosted a virtual lecture on Mount Zion - Female Union Band Historic Memorial Park, Inc. Foundation's work to Save, Restore & Honor a Sacred Space In Georgetown.


Presentation by Lisa Fager, Executive Director,

Mount Zion - Female Union Band Society

Historic Memorial Park Foundation

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Next door to Dumbarton House are two adjoining, historic African American cemeteries that for decades have been hidden in plain sight. Founded in the early 1800s, the Mount Zion and Female Union Band Society cemeteries are the final resting place of thousands, many of whom were enslaved. Executive Director Lisa Fager oversees the mission of the Foundation to preserve, re-imagine, and maintain care of this sacred space that was also a stop on the Underground Railroad. Ms. Fager discussed the fascinating, important history of the cemeteries and those buried there, as well as the decades-long struggle to keep and restore the site. 

Tree Planting Community Event Successfully Completed

Our anticipated five-day effort to plant a very large number of young trees on the erosion endangered crest and hillsides of the cemetery was completed in just two (long) days.  This impressive accomplishment was the result of a tremendous response by the neighborhood, organizations such as the Dumbarton Garden Group, the Colonial Dames, Georgetown Univ. students, and various church member groups. Volunteers recruited and fielded fellow club members, friends, family members, and students.


We must also thank Jim Woodworth of the DC Government and members of the Rock Creek Conservancy, who provided the bare-root trees and planting tools.

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Should you visit the cemetery over the next days and weeks, you will see a myriad of pink and orange flags marking the locations of the newly planted southern red oak, tulip/yellow poplar, persimmon, pawpaw, and redbud trees.  These trees will help to stabilize the soil of the burial grounds, provide habitat to wildlife, prevent runoff into Rock Creek, and sustain the beauty of the sanctuary.

On behalf of the Mount Zion - Female Union Band Historic Memorial Park Foundation, the Mount Zion Methodist Church, and individuals with very personal connections to these cemeteries - thank you to everyone who rallied to help us in this very important preservation effort.

Event Completed - "Headstones & History" Black Lives Matter(ed) Presentation

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The Montgomery County Genealogical Society hosted a Black History Month program featuring Lisa Fager, Executive Director, Mount Zion-Female Union Band Historic Memorial Park, Inc. Foundation

Dr. Garett Lowe and Tom Dunkenfield III of Eagle Eye Tutoring shared the histories of Mt Zion - FUBS and findings from their 2020 Summer study 4-week pilot program that provided a unique opportunity for high school and college students to conduct original historical research to uncover and memorialize some of the hidden histories of Georgetown's African Americans.


Thank you to all who attended. A link to the recording of this event will be provided when it becomes available.

Event Completed 

Explore Georgetown’s Black history and learn how to preserve your own family photographs and documents, 

Black Georgetown Community History Proje

If you did not get the chance to attend the session you can see the recording here. For more information on preserving your family papers and photographs, please see this handout from the program.

The program, Black Georgetown Community History Project: Family Heirlooms was on March 19 at 1 p.m

Curators, collections managers, and other experts from Dumbarton House, Georgetown University, and Tudor Place Historic House & Garden shared tips and techniques while they explored the family collection of Neville Waters, a sixth-generation Georgetown resident and the current president of Mt. Zion – Female Union Band Society Historic Memorial Park, Inc.

This free, virtual community program was organized by Dumbarton House, Georgetown Heritage, Mt. Zion – Female Union Band Society Historic Memorial Park, Inc. and Tudor Place Historic House & Garden.

Church Members, Friends and Foundation Board Members Commemorate the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Dedicate the Cemeteries' National Register of Historic Places Designation Plaque

Lisa Fager shares agenda and dedication
Vernon Ricks shares scripture
Neville Waters shares stories of grandfa
Patrick Reading His Story II
Deborah Bond sings Lift every voice and
Nana Malaya Rucker Libation Ceremony
Nana Malaya Rucker leads a procession du
Attendees at Plaque dedication
Plaque reveal and dedication
Deborah Bond Sings at Plaque reveal
Nana Malaya Rucker at Plaque Dedication.
Deborah Bond and Nana Malaya Rucker
Tisdale Fager Ricks Seiver Waters Plaque
National Register of Historic Places Designation Plaque Dedication Foundation Board

Click Images Above to Pause or Enlarge

We gathered on the plateau to reflect, honor and celebrate the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King and those interred in our cemeteries. Lisa Fager, Foundation Executive Director shared the ceremony program and context of the cemeteries' designation in the National Register of Historic Places. Vernon Ricks, Chairperson, Mount Zion United Methodist Church Trustee and Foundation Board member, shared scripture.  "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was performed by acclaimed artist Deborah Bond. Neville Waters, Foundation Board President, shared perspectives of the history of the cemeteries, and the role of his grandfather and father in the black Georgetown community.  Patrick Tisdale, Volunteer Activity Coordinator presented a story written to honor the day.  Nana Malaya Rucker led the assembled in a spirited Libation ceremony and procession. Finally, the community and program participants unveiled and dedicated the National Register of Historic Places designation plaque.    Images by James Newton Photography

The placement of the plaque in the entrance area of the Female Union Band Society Cemetery:

  • Informs visitors that the “park-like” and wooded grounds before them are in fact a sacred historic burial ground for thousands of individuals

  • Provides visitors information about the history of the cemeteries, the lives, and contributions made by the interred to the establishment of Georgetown and to the transition of the United States to a post-slavery era

  • The NRHP Sign supports the Mount Zion - Female Union Band Memorial Park, Inc. Foundation goal of the burial grounds being a living historic memorial



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