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Remains from graveyard in Annapolis to be returned

Posted at 5:40 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 20:56:02-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Asbury United Methodist in Annapolis was built in 1804. The man who donated the land, Smith Price, a former slave from Annapolis, died three years later and was buried in a family plot behind the church.

Some believe Price and his child's grave were dug up during construction in the 1980s and moved.

Janice Hayes-Williams was born and raised in Annapolis. She finally found the bones that were dug up on a museum shelf in Calvert County. She says this is a great time to educate the community how much African-Americans thrived in a free Maryland, especially Anne Arundel County.

"There aren't a lot of stories about post-revolution African-Americans," said Hayes-Williams. "People must remember at the Civil War half of Marylander was free."

Hayes-Williams says she's seen the community unite together after this historic find.

St. Anne's Episcopal Church , a predominately white church just a couple of blocks up West Street, says some of Price's relatives are buried in their cemetery, and they have reached out to the Asbury United Methodist Church.

They told Asbury United they will bury him with his family, in St. Anne's Cemetery, when the time has come, in a show of the community coming together.

The church says they hope they can find enough DNA from the teeth of the skeletons, although Hayes-Williams says that even if they're unable to, this is more than about our differences.

"We're crossing all the lines," Hayes-Williams said, "color lines, religious lines, political lines because this is important to all of us, our beginnings."