Vandals badly damage N.B. burial ground with important connection to black community
Published Friday, December 1, 2017 10:06PM AST
The historic Black Settlement Burial Ground in Willow Grove, N.B., has been struck by vandals.
Ralph Thomas grew up in the area and has worked for decades to build and preserve the site. Thomas says when he saw the damage, he was at a loss for words.
"The community loves this place, and for somebody to come along and just do that for no reason, what can I say?"
All of the windows in the building have been busted out. One of the monuments from the site was thrown into a nearby ditch.
Historian David Peters says the location is sacred ground where generations of settlers have been buried.
“That's one of most historical black sites that we really respect," says Peters. "it's one of the few places that we can actually document, that we landed, both as loyalists and as refugees from the war of 1812.”
Thomas says this is the first time that the memorial has suffered significant damage by vandals.
"This is a place of memorial. We remember the folks that struggled before us," he says. "We have people who protect this. We don't have people who destroy, so I don't know what happened.”
Volunteers will be boarding up the broken windows in the days to come. Permanent repairs will have to wait until the spring.