Historian works to protect slave gravesites near housing construction in North Charleston

VIDEO: Historian works to protect slave gravesites near housing construction in North Charleston

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A historian says a North Charleston property that could be used to build townhomes is where a suspected slave gravesite is located.

The Ashley River Commons Townhome complex is located off of Dorchester Road near Zucker Middle School.

Forensic historian and genealogist for the Gullah Society Grant Mishoe says maps from the early 1900′s indicate there are burial grounds nearby.

The nonprofit is committed to preserving African American burial grounds.

“The slave cemetery has been in the undeveloped section of the Ashley River Commons for multiple years and now they’ve started developing that area,” Mishoe said.

Mishoe says he's been collecting information on slave, African American and old cemeteries for more than 30 years.

He says a map from 1919 shows the slave gravesite in this area.

Home builders DR Horton say they just became aware on Tuesday and it’s their understanding that none of the land they currently own is on or near the suspected gravesite.

However, they say they’ve learned that a different parcel of land they have under contract to purchase may be on the site.

The spokesperson for the City of North Charleston says the known grave site isn’t located near the development.

Mishoe set out to make sure they were aware of his findings before development took place.

“Those are our ancestors, these are the people who paved the way for us, how we are today,” Mishoe said. “They were enslaved in life. They are basically building on top of them or whatever, but they’re enslaved in death. They don’t get any peace at all.”

Grant says on several occasions, he’s seen where construction takes place on top of graveyards and he’s working to help prevent that from happening.

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