Enrichmond Acquires Evergreen Cemetery

Published on May 24th, 2017 by Erin Jenkins

The Enrichmond Foundation has been supporting Richmond’s parks and public spaces through community-based volunteer engagement for over 26 years. We have been inspired by our partners and motivated by a history of successful projects.  Today we announce possibly our most significant and humbling endeavor to date- the acquisition of Evergreen Cemetery. Although this encompasses only our first step in the protection and preservation of the four cemeteries of Evergreen it signifies a new dawn for those interred, their families, and the rich African American history of Richmond and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Richmond, Virginia – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

On Wednesday, May 17th, Governor Terry McAuliffe made history by signing House Bill 1547 to provide for the maintenance of historic African-American graves, monuments, and markers at the East End Cemetery and Evergreen Cemetery. Today, all of Richmond takes the first step toward enacting the Governor’s mission of parity toward Virginia’s historic cemeteries. 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 gift 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.”

Press inquiries:
John Sydnor, Executive Director, Enrichmond Foundation
Phone: (804) 592-1496