Are Richmond’s Black Cemeteries being maintained?
Thanks to Mark Holmberg for covering Evergreen and the state of other historic African-American cemeteries and burial grounds. We are a small but growing and dedicated group who have been working for several years to improve the cemetery. Every week we make new discoveries and hopefully make a little more progress. Volunteering at one of our weekly clean-up events is the best way to help! Why not get your church, scout group, or other organization to come take a tour of the cemetery, learn about Richmond’s rich black history within the grounds, and help us turn back time and reveal this site’s true beauty.
It seems like many would like to know “what’s the deal with Evergreen”? Put simply, it was neglected for 40 years. Sadly, because the cemetery existed before a time that perpetual care funds were mandatory for cemeteries, it was each family’s responsibility to keep their plots clean. Families move away, die off, or forget that their ancestors’ resting places need their care. The plots that were being maintained often got overwhelmed because they were next to ones that weren’t, and soon, the entire 60 acre site has almost completely grown over with kudzu, ivy, scrub trees, and the like.
To further add insult to injury, loads of trash and demolition debris were dumped sometime in earlier decades, blocking many of the crossroads and making access even more difficult.
As Mr. Enzminger has said in the article, the entire cemetery is a massive job. Our efforts are making a dent. Come out and see just how much has been done, and how much remains a wilderness.