The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Meeting with Ms. Mindy DeCesar

Meeting with Ms. Mindy DeCesar

By Bob Heafner

Online: December, 2001

I met with Ms. DeCesar at The Slave Meadow in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, in late December of 2001. She was very encouraging that something would be done to replace the headstones. While we were on the site, Dwight Shelor, a local dairy farmer, stopped and talked with us. He told her about how his mother, who before her death, was always concerned about the grave markers being removed and wanted them replaced.

After Dwight left, Ms. DeCesar talked about how a portion of the Underground Railroad once ran through this area and this would be the perfect site to commemorate the African-American experience in the Blue Ridge.

As I started home that day I felt that finally something was going to be done to replace the headstones. Ms. DeCesar promised to call me within a few days after talking the situation over with her superiors. Several weeks went by and I finally called Ms. DeCesar and her optimism was severely dampened to the point of being very discouraging. It seemed we were back to square one.

I asked Ms. DeCesar to please send me a written response that I could post online to keep our readers informed of the progress, or lack thereof, in getting the headstones replaced.

Next I received a letter dated January 17, 2002, from Dan Brown, Superintendent of The Blue Ridge Parkway (see next step in chronological order).