After waiting for two years to pay the concession fee for Beauford's grave, I received notification that his grave site will henceforth be conserved by the City of Paris and that within the next few weeks, Beauford's name will be added to the list of famous persons buried at Thiais cemetery!
The story goes as follows:
When I founded the French non-profit association Les Amis de Beauford Delaney in 2009, the principal goals were to pay the fee that would keep Beauford's remains interred and to place a stone at his unmarked grave. At the time, I was told that an exception would be made so that Les Amis could pay the concession fee because only Beauford's family or a legal representative of his estate was legally allowed to do so. Les Amis paid all previously owed sums and brought accounts up to date through 2010.
© Discover Paris!
© Discover Paris!
In 2011, I wrote to the cemetery to indicate that Les Amis was ready to submit the funds to cover the next ten years of the concession. I was told once again that Les Amis had no right to submit this payment and that a two-year grace period would go into effect to allow a family member or legal representative to come forth and pay (or move Beauford's remains elsewhere). I had to wait until 2013 to contact them again.
I wrote to the cemetery in March of this year, reiterating that Les Amis was ready to pay the sum due. I received a reply stating that though an exception was made in 2010, Les Amis would not be allowed to pay the concession this year. However, my contact at the cemetery, Deputy Director Marilyn Pin, took it upon herself to contact the main cemetery office at Père Lachaise in Paris and request that Beauford's name be added to the list of "celebrities" interred at Thiais. If this request were granted, the City of Paris would take responsibility for preserving his grave site and no future funds would need to be submitted.
On June 7th, I received a call from Madame Pin stating that her request had been granted and that a letter would be forthcoming. On July 4th, I received her letter confirming that Beauford's grave will now be conserved by the City of Paris. This means that Beauford's family and estate no longer need to worry about paying a fee to keep his remains buried.
From an historical standpoint, the fact that Beauford's name will be added to the list of famous persons buried at the Parisian Cemetery of Thiais is yet another milestone in the preservation of the legacy of the African-American presence in Paris.