Lemon City Cemetery Memorial Garden And Monument Dedication Presentation 2/15/11

Lemon City Cemetery Memorial Garden And Monument Dedication Presentation
February 15, 2011, 9:30 AM
Village Carver
485 NW 71st Street
Miami, FL 33150

A dedication ceremony for the memorial garden and monument at the site of the recently discovered Lemon City Cemetery, where 523 Black people are buried many of who were Bahamian and early founders of Miami. The event will begin with a procession at 9:30 am led by The Progressive Cornet Band directed by Donnie Brown and the Singing Angels directed by Dr. Richard Strachan. At 10 a.m., Dr. Enid Pinkney, chair of the Lemon City Cemetery Community Corporation, and Alfred Sanchez, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Miami, will speak on the rich history of the Lemon City Cemetery and their work to preserve the memory of many of Miami’s Black pioneers

In April of 2008 human bones were discovered at the construction site for the YMCA of Greater Miami’s affordable housing project in Miami, Florida. It was found that these bones were from Black people, many of whom were Bahamians, and early founders of Miami.

The City of Miami had no record of a Cemetery being in this location and had given the Developers, Carlisle Development Group and Biscayne Housing, permission to build affordable housing on the land. The controversy resulted in the formation of the Lemon City Cemetery Community Corporation to stop further development of the property and ensure respect for the dead. The Y and the Developers agreed to revise their construction plans and not move the remains to another cemetery. They further agreed to turn the rest of the cemetery which had no construction on it into a memorial garden with a monument to the 523 people buried there and build the additional two planned apartments in another area of the Y’s property.

On February 16, 2010 the Lemon City Cemetery Community Corporation, the Developers and the Y celebrated the Local Historic Designation of the Cemetery which was granted by the City of Miami’s Historic Preservation and Environment Board on November 3, 2009. Over two hundred people attended the program. The Lemon City Cemetery Corporation has applied for a 501c3, sponsored a Charrette to determine plans for the Memorial and Monument and meets on a regular basis to achieve its goals.

The YMCA of Greater Miami
With branches throughout Miami-Dade and upper Monroe County, the YMCA of Greater of Miami is one of South Florida’s leading not-for-profit organizations. The Y engages the South Florida community to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Focusing on strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y offers services such as youth sports, aquatics, after-school, preschool and child care, summer camp, health and fitness programs, and membership. For more information about the YMCA of Greater Miami, call toll free 1-877-WOW-YMCA or visit www.ymcamiami.org.

Lemon City Cemetery Community Corporation
The Lemon City Cemetery Community Corporation started out as the African American Committee of Dade Heritage Trust, which later became the Lemon City Cemetery Task Force and now has been incorporated. The first meeting was held on May 25, 2009 at Jefferson Reaves Park to discuss strategies to deal with the discovery of the Lemon City Cemetery. Finding family members of the deceased, applying for historic designation, inviting elected officials to our meeting and getting the community involved were strategies suggested to deal with the situation. All meetings have been open to the public. The LCCC adopted a resolution which was presented to and passed by the Historic Environment Preservation Board of the City of Miami in July. The LCCC prepared and presented a preliminary historic designation report for the September meeting of the HEP Board. That report was accepted unanimously by the Board in October.