Originally published 05/28/2013
WASHINGTON — On a May afternoon in 2001, a group of volunteers cleaning up trash in Walter C. Pierce Community Park in Adams Morgan found a bone that appeared to be a human femur. The Washington region was enthralled at the time by the search for missing former government intern Chandra Levy, and the bone’s discovery sent murmurs rippling through the cleanup crew. Finally, a nurse in the group examined the bone. It’s not Chandra, she told the group. This bone is very old.Beneath Walter Pierce Park are two adjacent historic cemeteries: the quarter-acre Burying Ground or Place of Interment for the Society of Friends or Quakers, which dates to 1809, and a 6 3/4-acre African-American cemetery, which operated between 1870 and 1890. At the peak of its use, Mount Pleasant Plains Cemetery was the largest African-American burial ground in the District of Columbia....