Bladensburg Union Burial Association records

Object Details

Scope and Content Note
The collection is arranged into four main categories: Administration, Finances, Correspondence and Writings. Material in each folder is arranged in chronological order by date. Series Description 1. Administration: The series contains constitution amendments, by-laws, applications, forms, roll calls, minutes and business related to the operation of the Bladensburg Union Burial Association. 2. Finances: The series contains materials related to funding the organization, to include treasurer reports, financial notebooks and expense receipts, which document membership dues and taxes. 3. Correspondence: The series consists primarily of correspondence generated by members of the Bladensburg Union Burial Association. 4. Writings: The series contains writings by Union members to include: the history of the Bladensburg Union Burial Association, bible verses, poetry and writings which are miscellaneous in nature.
Biography of the Bladensburg Union Burial Association
In 1870 undertaker Francis Gasch refused to conduct a burial because the family of the decease could not afford to pay the exorbitant cost of the funeral. This plight was quite common for newly freed African Americans. Recognizing the need for action Henry Vinton Plummer intervened on the behalf of the family and assumed the financial responsibility. Thereafter, in an effort to empower members of his race to establish their own resources he called a meeting where he proposed a society which the members in attendance named the Bladensburg Burying Association. Funds were raised by collecting membership dues which ensured its members a proper funeral. The Bladensburg Union Burial Association is a fine example of black enterprise during the period of reconstruction. By utilizing self help methods to propel themselves out of difficult and turbulent time's beneficent societies were able to take care of their own by providing financial resources to its members who paid dues. Through self empowerment the Bladensburg Union Burial Association would go on to respond to its members needs through active community involvement for many years to come by providing for the needs of formerly enslaved, newly freed and future generations.
Biography of Henry Vinton Plummer
The Bladensburg Union Burial Association's founder, Mr. Henry Vinton Plummer was a man of integrity and remarkable character. He was the eldest son of Adam Francis Plummer and Emily Saunders who were enslaved in Maryland on separate plantations for twenty two years. Plummer was one of eighteen children born from this union into slavery on July 31, 1844 on Sarah Ogle Hilleary's Three Sisters Plantation in Lanham, Maryland. He escaped slavery in 1862 by running away to the District of Columbia to join the Union Navy during the Civil War, where he served as chaplain for the Union forces before being honorably discharged in 1865. After being honorably discharged Plummer enrolled in Wayland Seminary, which provided education and training for Freedmen to enter into the Baptist ministry. Upon the completion of his theological studies he became the Pastor of the St. Paul Baptist Church in Bladensburg, Maryland, which was founded by his sister Sarah Miranda Plummer on October 19, 1866. Plummer married July Lomax of Virginia in 1867 and their marriage produced nine children. In 1884, Plummer was appointed as the first black chaplain in the 9th Calvary, which was one of the Buffalo Soldiers units of the Regular Army. Amidst controversy, Plummer was accused of conduct unbecoming an officer and dishonorably discharged from his post in Fort Robinson, Nebraska by a military court in 1894. In 2005, Plummer's descendants successfully petitioned the Army Board for Correction of Military Records to eradicate his dishonorable discharge.
bulk 1920-1970
3.64 Linear feet (4 boxes)
The Bladensburg Union Burial Association records were donated to the Anacostia Community Museum on October 14, 2004 by Reverend L. Jerome Fowler.
The Bladensburg Union Burial Association records are the physical property of the Anacostia Community Museum. Literary and copyright belong to the author/creator or their legal heirs and assigns. Rights to work produced during the normal course of Museum business resides with the Anacostia Community Museum. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archives.
Bladensburg Union Burial Association records, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Reverend L. Jerome Fowler.
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Membership lists
Receipts (financial records)
African American churches
African American clergy
African American clergy -- History
Funeral rites and ceremonies
Bladensburg (Md.)
Applications, Bladensburg Union
Finding aid
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