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East End News

Enrichmond has acquired Evergreen Cemetery

Enrichmond has acquired Evergreen Cemetery:

The Enrichmond Foundation is honored to announce it has finalized the acquisition of historic Evergreen Cemetery. With this purchase, Enrichmond intends to set a course toward the restoration and preservation of this Richmond landmark.

Enrichmond’s acquisition of Evergreen is the culmination of six years of research, relationship-building, partnership, and persistence. For three years Enrichmond has supported volunteer groups in the cemetery and witnessed their heroic dedication and effort. The next chapter for Evergreen will continue to include many of its amazing volunteers and committed organizations, with the added support from Enrichmond’s 26 years of successful public space building and partners.

Enrichmond is dedicated to making Evergreen’s sacred grounds public and accessible to all – most especially to family members of those interred. The acquisition also represents Enrichmond’s first step in bringing the “Four Cemeteries of Evergreen” under one coordinated restoration effort. For the last year, Enrichmond has applied the same dedication and persistence to the acquisition of East End Cemetery and two Paupers’ cemeteries. More news on this endeavor will be forthcoming.

The acquisition effort has been driven by a mission to protect the very essence of Richmond’s past, present, and future. Evergreen and East End are the final resting places for many pillars from Richmond’s past, the most notable of whom are the distinguished and nonpareil Maggie L. Walker, Hezekiah Jonathan, Rev. J. Andrew Bowler, John Mitchell, Jr., and A.D. Price. Equally significant are the yet-to-be-recorded stories of the thousands of African Americans whose lives are the corner stones in the foundation of Richmond, our Commonwealth, and our country. Without their lives and sacrifices, our City would not have been possible. “The stories of these amazing men, women, and children laid to eternal rest in these sacred grounds will be preserved, protected, archived, and passed on to generations to come,” said John Sydnor, Executive Director of Enrichmond.

“Enrichmond did not arrive here alone nor will we succeed on our own. We extend a special thank you to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (Brett Glymph), whose partnership literally made Evergreen’s preservation as a public space possible. Thanks to Delegate Delores McQuinn for never relenting in her support for this historic place and its residents, and to Governor McAuliffe who championed our group’s cause and signed two historic bills elevating African-American history in the Commonwealth. Our gratitude is extended to the thousands of volunteers who have given the precious gifts of their time and resources. And finally to the Entzminger family, Troutman Sanders LLP (Matt Murcko, Esq., Michael Warwick, Esq., and Andrea Brandenburger), the City of Richmond, the National Park Service, Library of Virginia, Preservation Virginia, and Virginia Community Capital.

Sydnor closed by stating, “We look forward to working with all of the families of those interred, individuals, local, state, and federal governments, corporations, and nonprofits to protect Evergreen as a sacred, safe, scenic, and public place.”

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62 comments

Eric Huffstutler 05/24/2017 at 11:36 PM

Interesting on many levels. Let’s hope that East End and the other two cemeteries, will also have the same initiative and respect as Evergreen. One has to pass through these to access Evergreen.

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John Sydnor 05/25/2017 at 10:51 AM

Good morning Eric. As stated in the press release, combining the four cemeteries of Evergreen under one coordinated preservation and protection effort is Enrichmond’s goal. Not only will all four receive the same initiative and respect, Enrichmond and our partners (i.e. Library of Virginia) will make sure everything is made available to the public for family research, story telling, visits, and much more.

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Holly 05/25/2017 at 11:31 AM

Very cool!

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Eric Huffstutler 05/25/2017 at 7:37 PM

@2 John Sydnor… Thanks for the clarification, John.

Are you familiar with my 2014 historical articles published in our own CHA Newsletter, concerning the cemeteries? If not, please give them a read. They are archived on the CHA website and here are the links:

http://www.churchhill.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/2014OCT_web7.pdf

and continued in this issue…

http://www.churchhill.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/2014OCT_web7.pdf

The articles are entitled “And They Weep…A Richmond Disgrace”.

Eric

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Eric Huffstutler 05/25/2017 at 7:39 PM Reply
Aud 05/26/2017 at 12:06 AM

Eric, your stories are very well researched and written.

Isn’t Woodland part of the “Four Cemeteries of Evergreen”? Where are the two paupers’ cemeteries mentioned in the post – assuming one is the children’s cemetery off of Stony Run Parkway?

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Eric Huffstutler 05/26/2017 at 11:02 AM

@6 Aud, Thank You. I hope Sydnor can use my articles in some way? I had spent a lot of time researching the background of the properties and collecting deeds and transfer information, as well as maps, while looking into routes to save the cemeteries. Woodland Cemetery is not considered part of the 4, which are grouped geographically together around Evergreen. Woodland is in the East Highland Park area and is where Arthur Ashe is buried. It is (or now was), also owned by Entzminger. The 4 mentioned are 1) Evergreen 2) East End 3) Oakwood Colored Pauper 4) Colored Pauper.

There was some controversy about black Confederate soldiers being buried at the Oakwood site, or the site in general existing. After my research, Oakwood finally verified that the property does exist (at first they denied it) but due to the lack of records, have no idea who is buried there (Assessor Property ID E0003312002). When Stony Run Parkway was built, it ran through the Oakwood property and what exists today is actually on the opposite side of the road next to the Evergreen properties.

BTW… the second article in November-December 2014 skips from pages 14-15 to page 17 so don’t overlook that which has later information on Evergreen.

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Eric Huffstutler 05/26/2017 at 11:21 AM

@6 Aud.. I believe that you are thinking about a small cemetery called “Garden of Lilies” as being the old Colored Pauper Cemetery – which you mentioned being a children’s cemetery? There is a marker there stating that it is the same but believe the actual property line falls to one side of it? I don’t have my maps at hand. There is a murder victim named Miss. Effie Delores Lightfoot Williams (1924-1963) buried there.

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Aud 05/29/2017 at 10:58 AM

Thank you, Eric!! I appreciate your detailed explanation.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 05/29/2017 at 8:27 PM

@9 Aud, you are welcome. I am always glad to hear that my work has either touched, entertained, or enlightened someone within or outside our community. 🙂

Reply

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