Celebration and Conservation at Historic Evergreen Cemetery: MLK Day 2019

Published on January 22nd, 2019 by Jess Maffey

Thank you to the over 300 volunteers who served at Historic Evergreen Cemetery yesterday in honor of Dr. King. Volunteer service is, and continues to be, invaluable to the process of restoring this sacred site. Special thanks to large volunteer groups who came out: VCU Honors College Students, Christchurch School, The Sigma Delta Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, and I-CERV ( Ismaili Community Engaged in Responsible Volunteering). 
Our Executive Director, John Sydnor, thanked the volunteers following a morning of service:
“This place is an amazing, sacred place. When you come and are a part of the volunteer work, there is a spirit that takes hold of you. It’s a spirit of integrity, strength, and endurance, and it is made from the collective spirit of those who are interred here.”
The day concluded with a ceremony that included performances by the Virginia Union University Choir, a libation ceremony conducted by Janine Bell of the Elegba Folklore Society, and an invocation by Rev. Dr. William Eric Jackson of the Fourth Baptist Church. Enrichmond and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation signed a conservation easement for the Evergreen property that sets the stage for one of the largest restoration efforts of a historic African-American cemetery in the nation. 
As Virginia Outdoors Foundation’s Executive Director, Brett Glymph, described:
“The easement will provide for the permanent protection and restoration of this cemetery so that future generations can learn from the very important history that resides here. To our knowledge, VOF’s grant is the largest of its kind in Virginia history, and possibly the nation’s history. Today, we are recognizing the importance of the lives of the individuals buried here and their countless contributions to our city, to our commonwealth, and to our country, in spite of slavery, and in spite of the oppression of Jim Crow. We look to them for guidance as we continue our work of building community and creating a more fair and just society for all.”

Read the full press release from VOF here.

Join us in 2019 for the rediscovery and restoration of Historic Evergreen Cemetery

Please “Like” the Enrichmond Foundation on Facebook to stay connected. Sign up on HandsOn Greater Richmond to join in our volunteer days, every Saturday morning. Our next clean up is February 2, 2019.