African American Burial Ground for Enslaved at Belmont

My name is Mikaeel Martinez Jaka. I am an Eagle Scout Candidate in in Crew 786 at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS Center) and Troop 163 in Purcellville, Virginia.

My Eagle Project was to build a 400-foot trail at the African-American Burial Ground for the Enslaved at Belmont.

“People will be able to walk along the trail, see all of this rich history — American history — that we all need to remember and definitely talk about more and pay our respects,” “Because it’s our duty as people living today to honor these people in the past that sacrificed everything to build the country.” - Mikaeel Martinez Jaka

Journey To Freedom Heritage Trail for my project beneficiary - The Loudoun Freedom Center.

Completed Plan
My project included three weekends of workdays installing 800-feet of wooden 4x4s for the border of the trail, 400x4-feet of ground filter cloth, 400 1-foot metal stakes, and 32 tons of gravel.

During the first weekend of my project, we dug the 2 inch deep foundation for the 400 foot trail for my project. Working with the Loudoun Freedom Center I am constructing a 4x400 foot trail with 4x4 wooden borders and 16 tons of gravel. This trail, already named by the Loudoun Freedom Center - The Journey To Freedom Heritage Trail - will allow people to access the African American Burial Ground for the Enslaved at Belmont, a 3 acre historic African American cemetery right off the intersection of Belmont Ridge Road and Route 7 in Ashburn, VA.

During the second weekend, installation of 800-feet of wooden pressure treated outdoor grade 4x4s took place. Using sledgehammers to nail in 1-foot metal stakes was also a significant part of the work completed.

The third and final weekend of my project was on Sat July 7th & Sun July 8th and we distributed the 32 tons of gravel along the trail and common areas, as well as providing stepping stone footpaths for people to access key points in the cemetery.

Proposed Plan
My plan is to construct a 400-foot walking trail through the sacred African American Burial Ground for the Enslaved at Belmont. I will also be laying down pavers near the graves to demarcate the area. Located at the southeast intersection of Belmont Ridge Road and Route 7 in Ashburn VA, the three-acre property was used by enslaved Africans of the Belmont plantation as a gathering place and as a burial ground. Constructing a walking trail through the cemetery will allow visitors to have access to an important part of American history and will allow people to pay their respects to the people buried there. My goal is to uplift the cemetery as much as I can and to do my part in honoring those who sacrificed so much to build our country. Your support for this is greatly appreciated.

Please consider volunteering by signing up here to help with construction of the trail. We will be using:

  • 16 (sixteen) tons of gravel
  • 100 8-ft long 4x4 wood borders
  • 400 metal stakes
  • 400-ft long x 4-ft wide groundcloth
  • 100 stone pavers

Here is a link to my project Facebook page with more information on my Eagle Project.

Here are the links to the two newspapers that did stories on my project:

Here is the link to my iHeart radio interview about youth and community service with Volunteer Fairfax (a county in Northern Virginia, in the Metropolitan area of Washington, DC). It aired on a past Sunday morning on the community D.C. segment of the following stations: 97.1 WASH, BIG 100.3,HOT 99-5, DC101, 98.7 WMZQ

Here was a link to the Sign-Up Genius for my project workdays with more details and information.

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