Read moreInside the search for tombstones from the Columbian Harmony Cemetery, where 37,000 Black D.C. residents were once buried.
Four years ago, Virginia State Senator Richard Stuart and his wife Lisa were exploring their new farm on the Potomac River when they saw something in the water that brought tears to her eyes and made him feel ill.
"Lisa and I looked at each other, and both of us said, is that a headstone? Then we looked, and we saw another and another and another," the lawmaker told CBS News' Chip Reid.
"It was just a horrible feeling to think that this person's headstone was here on our shoreline… and not where it belonged with her body, where her family could grieve and mourn and remember her life," Lisa said.
Since discovering the headstones, Richard said, "we've been working to get them back where they belong."
The couple consulted with historians, who followed the trail of names to the Columbian Harmony Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
For about 100 years starting in the late 1850s, it was the final resting place for 37,000 Black residents of Washington, D.C. Those residents include many of Washington's most prominent citizens, such as Elizabeth Keckley, seamstress and confidante of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln; Sergeant Major Christian Fleetwood, who received the medal of honor during the Civil War; and Mary Ann Shad, an antislavery activist and America's first Black female publisher.