Litchford Plaza pays homage to the cobblestone Black Graves under the parking lot of Upper Arlington High School

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An architect’s rendering of the Litchford Plaza project. Image: MKSK, courtesy of Upper Arlington City Council

A new pedestrian square will honor a cemetery for black residents that was paved under a parking lot when Upper Arlington High School was built in 1956.

Why is this important: As part of a new town history trail, Litchford Plaza and its signage will recognize local black history that was once erased.

Catch up fast: Through eminent domain, the Upper Arlington School District took the half-acre of cemetery land from the descendants of Pleasant Litchford, a freed slave who moved to the area in the 1830s and became a blacksmith and wealthy Lander owner.

The last: Monday, the The Upper Arlington City Council approved $100,000 for the plaza project, which is located near the new high school that opened last year. The district will contribute $200,000.

  • The goal is to finish it before the summer.
  • Litchford’s descendants helped with the planning, and the district also added lessons about him to its local history curriculum.

What they say : “The first thing we need to do about our history is always be honest about it. It’s part of our history,” Superintendent Paul Imhoff told ThisWeek News.

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