Underneath a muddy desolate back lot near 47-11 90th Street in Elmhurst exists a forgotten cemetery. Almost two centuries ago, African-American residents of what was then known as Newtown buried their family and friends in this sacred place of eternal rest.
According to the Elmhurst History & Cemeteries Preservation Society, a total of 310 burials were made in the cemetery. Some burials have been removed but numerous remains are still at the site. The society stated that the African American community in Elmhurst traces backs to the time of slavery in the late 1600s.
In 1828 a parcel of land was donated to former slaves who were members of the United African Society (later known as St. Mark's AME Church) one year after slavery was abolished in New York State. The first African American church, parsonage, school and cemetery were set up at this site. Elmhurst had a free African American community living, working and worshiping in this particular area of Newtown.
In 1914, Booker T. Washington came to speak in Elmhurst to help raise funds for the St. Mark's AME church.
The goal of the society is to make the site a NYC Landmark and for it to be placed under the National Register of Historic Places.
More information, including a petition to save the burial ground, can be viewed here.