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Historic black burial site under playground to get memorial

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Posted at 7:20 AM, Jul 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-06 07:20:09-04

For generations, children would play kickball and jump rope on a stretch of concrete at a Philadelphia playground, unaware the remains of 5,000 black Philadelphians were buried right beneath their feet. Now, a portion of that playground will become a memorial to the dead.

Last month, the city announced plans to develop a section of the Weccacoe Playground into the Bethel Burying Ground Historic Site.

It was the burial ground for Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, founded by freed slave Richard Allen.

After decades, the graveyard fell into disrepair and eventually was forgotten.

Mother Bethel pastor The Rev. Mark Tyler says establishing a memorial that's accessible to children is a good way to honor the ancestors. It would help the children understand the past and "write a new and better American story."