Black heroes highlighted in call for Peace Cross restoration funding

The Bladensburg World War I Memorial, known as the Peace Cross, in Prince George’s County, Maryland, which includes the names of four Black soldiers who died in World War I, needs money for restoration.

Calls for funding are being made specifically during Black History Month.

“Funds are needed to begin this vital endeavor. To address the need, the Department of Parks and Recreation is fundraising to repair the Peace Cross,” Department Resource Development Officer Tracy Wright said in a news release.

“We encourage the community to join us and help support the restoration of this historical monument which honors our fallen Black heroes.”

Maryland State Sen. Malcolm Augustine called fundraising efforts a “worthy tribute to a worthy cause” in the release.

“As we honor the African Americans memorialized on the Bladensburg WWI Memorial, commonly known as the Peace Cross, during Black History month, we have the opportunity to demonstrate our thanks by contributing to the restoration of the Memorial.”

The African Americans highlighted on the Peace Cross are:

  • Clarence Butler (4/14/1890 – 10/6/1918), a farmer with his father in Nottingham.
  • James Cooper (3/1/1897 – 10/5/1918), a farmer in Aquasco.
  • John Seaburn (10/27/1897 – 10/4/1918), grew up in what is now North Brentwood.
  • Benjamin Thompson (1/11/1894 – 10/13/1918), was born in Waldorf and worked for himself as a farmer.

The Peace Cross memorial was constructed in 1919 to honor the 49 Prince George’s County residents who died fighting in World War I.

More information can be found at pgparks.com/4890/Friends-of-the-Parks.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story indicated the names of the Black soldiers were recently added to the Peace Monument. The names were already on the monument.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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