Historic Black cemetery officially becomes part of the city of Oviedo

Antioch Baptist Church began petition to annex the Boston Cemetery last year

OVIEDO, Fla. – Hours before a public meeting, the city of Oviedo told News 6 that it hopes there will be no opposition to the annexation of the Boston Cemetery.

The petition came from the owners of the cemetery in 2022, the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.

The city’s communications manager said it’s a positive request for the city and the church.

“It’s beneficial in many ways. They get to deal directly with the city, and it also gives them a better public safety. If there’s a fire or if they need a police presence, we’re very close compared to Seminole County. If they need anything from our public works or our development services, we’re right around the corner...” Lisa McDonald, communications manager for the city of Oviedo, said. “It is exciting because the Boston family is such an intricate part of the city of Oviedo.”

Leaders in Oviedo voted Monday to annex the historic cemetery. With the annexation, the cemetery will not be covered by Oviedo police and fire departments.

The 4.6 acres of land where the cemetery sits on was donated in 1926 to Antioch Missionary Baptist Church by Prince Butler Boston so that African Americans in the city had a place to properly bury their loved ones.

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“So back in the olden days, Oviedo had a White cemetery and a Black cemetery, and this is a historically Black cemetery, and it should be part of this city just like our other cemetery is,” Oviedo Mayor Megan Sladek said.

Sladek, who is a member of the Oviedo Preservation Project and was born in Oviedo, said making the cemetery part of the city brings better opportunities to bring awareness and recognition to the people who helped build the city.

“I think this will get people excited about writing scripts for the cemetery tour. And it’ll give us a chance to revitalize who we include and who we showcase from our Black community and the founders that helped shape it,” Sladek said.

The city of Oviedo said approving an annexation is not that difficult to do when it’s privately owned.

“It does make it easier in order to annex into the city. So when the petitioner comes before they city, we have the power to be able to approve that annexation. If it were city-owned and the city wanted to annex it, we would have to go before the county to do that,” McDonald said.

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