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Rothwell Figg Files Pro Bono Suit to Stop the Sale of a Burial Ground for Former Slaves and Their Descendants

August 11, 2021PDF

On behalf of the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition (BACC), the pastor of the Macedonia Baptist Church, and members of the Black community in Bethesda, Maryland, a team of Rothwell Figg attorneys filed a lawsuit, pro bono, against the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) to stop the sale of a burial ground for formerly enslaved Africans to a developer.

Steven Lieberman, Jenny Colgate, D. Allen Lawson, and Kristen Logan of Rothwell Figg, along with Jennifer Semko of Baker & McKenzie, requested that the Montgomery County Circuit Court issue a writ of mandamus ordering the HOC refrain from moving ahead with the sale unless and until it complies with Maryland law that requires the seller of burial grounds to bring an action in the county in which the burial ground is located so the court may decide whether, and under what terms and conditions, such a sale may take place. The HOC has announced that it expects to complete the sale of the land to developer Charger Ventures within a month.

A news conference held in conjunction with the filing of the lawsuit was covered by The Washington Post in an article titled "Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition sues Montgomery County over pending sale of Moses Cemetery" published on August 12, 2021. You can find the article by clicking on the PDF icon above, or by clicking here to be taken to The Washington Post website.