ASHBURN, Va. (DC News Now) — The president of the Loudoun County NAACP is demanding answers after her son’s grave was disturbed. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office was investigating this case of vandalism at the African American Burial Ground in Ashburn.
Fitz Alexander Campbell Thomas died in 2020, but his family and friends have kept his memory alive at the African American Burial Ground for the Enslaved at Belmont.
“This memorial was a memorial from his Jewish friends, and so they would come here and stack the rocks up,” said Pastor Michelle Thomas, Fritz’s mother.
Thomas said when she visited Monday, she saw those rocks all over the place. Some of them were broken.
“This is an antisemitic issue just as much as it is a racial justice issue,” Thomas said.
“To have his grave dishonored is heart shaking, especially how he’s united this community, not just in his life but also in his death,” Thomas continued.
Fritz is the first African American who was born free to be buried there.
Thomas said the vandals didn’t touch Fitz’s headstone, but she found a burnt piece of wood — a painting that a friend had left was burned.
“Oftentimes African American sites that are victimized or vandalized by racist folks, they normally burn crosses or burn something,” Thomas said.
Fritz’s sister Anna was upset too.
“This was not just like an attack on my brother. This is an attack on all the enslaved that (were) buried here,” Anna Thomas said.
Other areas of the burial ground were vandalized as well. A vase with flowers in front of the replica schoolhouse was thrown into the woods. At another burial site, a basket with flowers was tossed in the nearby pond.
Thomas said she didn’t want prayers — she wants action.
“There’s not a lot you can prosecute, but when you have a hate crime enhancement like what’s happened here — if we codify that in law, it really could have some teeth that could hold people accountable,” Thomas said.
Thomas plans to raise money to install security cameras. She said she plans to return with a group on Wednesday at 10 a.m. to further fix up the memorial.