Rep. Carter Calls on EPA and Department of the Interior to Protect Formerly Enslaved Burial Grounds Ancestral Burial Grounds are Critical to Families Tracing their Roots

Published 2:05 am Saturday, March 18, 2023

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. (D-La.) sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator and the U.S. Secretary of The Interior calling on industrial corporations or entities to certify that there are no burial grounds of the formerly enslaved on sites being considered for development when seeking a permit.


“In my home state of Louisiana, the legislature created the Louisiana Slavery Ancestral Burial Grounds Preservation Commission in 2017. This Commission protects the interests of the descendants of ancestors buried over a century ago,” Rep. Carter wrote. “This effort is not only significant to the formerly enslaved, it is important to all Americans. To truly embrace the American experience we must acknowledge our tragic past as part of our shared cultural identity.”


Many burial grounds and cemeteries of the formerly enslaved are unmarked graves, leaving little information on who these people were, how they lived, their interpersonal connections, and most importantly: their link to their current descendants. The discovery of these burial grounds is critical to help families trace back their roots and preserve these sacred spaces for future generations.


“History should be regarded as a means for understanding the past and solving the challenges of the future. Our community deserves better, and our ancestors deserve peace,” he concluded.