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Columbian Harmony Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: [unknown]
Surnames/tags: Cemeteries District of Columbia_Cemeteries
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"Columbian Harmony Cemetery was an African-American cemetery that formerly existed at 9th Street NE and Rhode Island Avenue NE in Washington, D.C. Constructed in 1859, it was the successor to the smaller Harmoneon Cemetery in downtown Washington. All graves in the cemetery were moved to National Harmony Memorial Park in Landover, Maryland, in 1959. The cemetery site was sold to developers, and a portion used for the Rhode Island Avenue – Brentwood Washington Metro station."[1]

By 1901, about 10,000 Black Americans were buried in Columbia Harmony. By 1950, nearly 400 veterans were buried there. Most of them were former U.S. Colored Troops. By the time of removal, there were about 37,000 people buried in the cemetery.

However, it was later discovered that not all graves were removed before construction of the Metro station. At least five coffins were unearthed in 1976 and even more found in 1979.

The relocation agreement did not include memorials, markers, or headstones. None of the bodies moved were marked. Grave markers were sold as scrap. Many of these grave markers were recently discovered among a pile of riprap along the banks of the Potomac River. [2]

"With the assistance of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, an agreement was signed by the state of Virginia, state of Maryland, the District of Columbia, and the History, Arts, and Science Action Network (HASAN; a nonprofit based in Lynchburg, Virginia). The grave markers will be turned over to the nonprofit, and National Harmony has agreed to allow the nonprofit to place them on the appropriate graves at the cemetery."[3]

The graves for those buried at Columbian Harmony are now listed under National Harmony Memorial Park at Find A Grave. Only 16% of this cemetery is currently photographed or listed (as of November, 2020).


  1. Delia Bell (Allen) Banks (abt.1907-1962)


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbian_Harmony_Cemetery
  2. A Virginia state senator found headstones on his property
  3. WikiPedia
  • Sluby, Paul E. 1996. Records Of The Columbian Harmony Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C.: Columbian Harmony Society.
  • Sluby, Paul E, Stanton L Wormley, and Paul E Sluby. 2001. History Of The Columbian Harmony Society And Of Harmony Cemetery, Washington, D.C.. Washington, D.C.: The Society.

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