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African American History

Discovery Of Bones At Relocated Black Cemetery In Washington Park Sparks Reaction

Nov 8, 2019
Community activist Malissa Blanchard, 69, of Washington Park, would like to see a monument or some other recognition for the old Douglas-Lawnridge Cemetery.
Teri Maddox | Belleville News Democrat

Malissa Blanchard doesn’t know if any of her ancestors were buried in the former Douglas-Lawnridge Cemetery in Washington Park, IL but she can’t rule it out.

She’s black, she grew up in nearby Lovejoy and the cemetery served black families from throughout the region until the 1940s.

Blanchard, 69, of Washington Park, has had an uneasy feeling since last month, when state officials discovered apparent human remains at the site while doing preliminary work for a highway project. The cemetery was supposed to be moved in the 1960s to make way for construction of Interstate 64.