My documentary, "Sacred Ground: The Battle for Mount Auburn Cemetery" will be playing in the San Diego Black Film Festival on Saturday, February 2, 2013. We are delighted to be part of the festival.
"Sacred Ground: The Battle For Mount Auburn Cemetery" is a feature-length documentary about community activists and family members battling a Methodist church for control of historic Mount Auburn Cemetery. For years, Mount Auburn Cemetery was the only place in Baltimore, Maryland, where African-Americans could be buried. It is the final resting place lightweight boxing champion Joe Gans, the first African-American world champion in any sport, and numerous leaders in the early civil rights movement. It is a registered historic landmark that has fallen into such horrifying condition that bones litter the ground and weeds cover all but the highest monuments. It is a tale of grave robbing, grave recycling and every other terrible thing that could possibly happen in a cemetery.
The film follows Lu Moorman, president of Preservation Alliance, an independent group of activists and family members, and her attempt to wrest control of the cemetery from its stewards, Sharp Street Memorial Church. Dating back to 1787, Sharp Street Memorial Church is one of the first African-American Methodist congregations. It was once the most influential African-American church in Baltimore, but its numbers have dwindled over the years and its financial resources have waned. The current pastor, Rev. Dell Hinton, appointed her father, Rev. Douglas Sands, head of the cemetery. They, too, have a plan to restore the cemetery with the help of Morgan State University, but who can be trusted to speak for the generations buried beneath its soil?
In 2009, conditions at Burr Oak Cemetery, the historic African-American cemetery in Chicago, aroused nationwide outrage. This film should engender similar outrage upon its release.
Here's the trailer: