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Higher Ground

Higher Ground: Honoring Washington Park Cemetery, Its People and Place is a digital exhibit of photographs, videos, and art exploring the history and issues of this historic African American cemetery. 

Washington Park Cemetery is located near St. Louis Lambert International Airport in the city of Berkeley, Missouri, and was established in 1920 as a burial ground for African Americans at a time when rigid segregation was common practice. For nearly 70 years, it was the largest black cemetery in the region and the final resting place for many prominent African Americans as well as lesser well-known citizens. The cemetery’s long and tragic history reveals a complicated tangle of social injustice, racial politics, imbalance of power, and dismal neglect. 

This exhibition is in part protest, in part tribute, and in part, historical documentation. The work offers an effort and a promise toward acknowledging the cultural and historical significance of Washington Park Cemetery, and toward honoring the people touched by decades of oversight, neglect, and disruption.