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'The grass is so high' grass gets cut at Mount Zion Cemetery on mother's day

Mt Zion Cemetery
Posted at 10:27 PM, May 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-21 11:09:54-04

Editor’s Note:
The Baltimore Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Inc. has always maintained it never owned Mt. Zion Cemetery. From June 2022 to February 2024, BACAMEC, Inc. voluntarily maintained the Mt. Zion Cemetery grounds. At that time, it was involved in legal proceedings regarding the true owner of Mt. Zion Cemetery. During those proceedings, the Maryland State Department of Assessments & Taxation (SDAT) found no record showing evidence BACAMEC, Inc. owned the cemetery. The most recent documented ownership change found in SDAT records was from 1981 when the Mt. Zion Cemetery Company merged with Mt. Zion Methodist Church. On January 29, 2024, a judge dismissed BACAMEC, Inc. from the lawsuit in which it was named. As of February 2024, SDAT corrected its records to reflect the cemetery is owned by The Mount Zion Methodist Church.

The loud engine of a lawn mower is not the sound you want to hear when you’re visiting a deceased loved one.

But it's what families had to endure the morning of Mother's Day.

They say it's a bittersweet sound because the grass should have been cut long ago.

“I always visit her; it's like heartbreaking because you know they are all alone and there is just a lot of grass, trash like no one here to take care of it," says Alexis.

This all started a few years ago, when neighbors first started noticing no one was cutting the grass or taking care of the headstones.

“I'm not for sure who owns it, like not at all. I'm not for sure who owns it, but who owns it should not have this like this at all," says Tiffany Horne.

According to the Maryland Department of Labor, Baltimore AME Church has ownership of Mount Zion Cemetery.

But on Thursday, the church’s lawyer told WMAR it never got the deed to the land.

“The grass is so high, you got to brush it off, you can’t even find the plot that your person is buried in. It just, it hurts my soul to see this," says Horne.

They also say the grass isn’t the only problem. There are many unmarked graves with broken tree limbs and headstones that were damaged over time by the weather.

“They need to do something, and fast, because at the end of the day, they are still human beings; they may not be here physically, but they are still here with us, we still care for them. You got people personally coming out cutting the grass; they shouldn’t even have to do that," says Alexis.

The county code enforcement office hired a third-party contractor to get the property cleaned up.

Although the families are happy the grass was cut Sunday, they say the fight is not over until someone takes full responsibility for the cemetery and consistently takes care of the grounds their family members are buried under.