Historic Evergreen Cemetery
Since its founding in 1891 by leaders of Richmond’s African American community, Historic Evergreen Cemetery has served as a powerful monument to black achievement, community life, and family bonds.
The below volunteer opportunities have been suspended due to COVID-19.
Find visitor and family information, documents and media stories, and learn about the project.
Learn how you can get involved with Evergreen through volunteering, sharing your story, or leaving us feedback.
Evergreen is the resting place for thousands of individuals who faced segregation, discrimination, and racial violence while contributing in important ways to the city’s—and the nation’s—vibrant social, political, intellectual, and religious life. Among those who rest here are such luminaries as Maggie L. Walker, John Mitchell, Jr., Dr. Sarah Garland Boyd Jones, and Rev. J. Andrew Bowler.
More than 10,000 lesser-known Richmond heroes are buried throughout Evergreen’s 60 acres. We invite you to make history with us by becoming involved and helping to honor those resting in this long-neglected national treasure!
Site restoration scheduled to begin
Evergreen Volunteer Days
Join us most Saturdays from 9am-12pm for volunteer clean-ups at the cemetery. Occasionally there will be free programming, workshops, and tours on those days as well!
Register to volunteer on HandsOn Greater Richmond.
February 29, 2020
Write the Vision; Make it Plain: Master Restoration Plan unveiled at Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site
Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch
The master plan is the result of a two-year effort by Evergreen Cemetery’s Executive Planning and Review Team (ExPRT), Enrichmond, and other stakeholders. The event included remarks from members of the ExPRT team, Mayor Stoney, Enrichmond, Virginia Outdoors Foundation, and the National Park Service. The 50+ attendees were able to view and read the master plan.
The master plan is available here for download.
January 20, 2020
MLK Day draws 500 volunteers
The Evergreen team welcomed 500 volunteers to a special clean up day in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Participating groups included Friends of East End, Tuckahoe Sports Inc, Equity Concepts, Boushall Middle School SGA, Virginia Outdoors Foundation, Virginia Union University, Southside Young Adults, Humphrey Fellowship Program, Rho Chi Phi Gamma Delta, Common Memory and University of Richmond.
Grave recording added as a regular volunteer activity
Led by Kelly Pratt, she and volunteers from the Federal Reserve have transcribed 4,235 entries from original Evergreen ledger books into our official records database so far. Recording the thousands more buried at the cemetery requires a combination of continued transcription from the ledger books we have, as well as recording grave sites on the ground. The vision for the final result is a searchable map of the property so that families can locate their loved ones.
East End Cemetery is added to the conservation easement
We amended the conservation easement - protecting Evergreen from development in perpetuity - to include East End Cemetery. It now receives the same protection as Evergreen.
VA Dept. of Forestry delivers East End Cemetery Forest Management Plan
The Community Forest Management Plan gives information about the current status of the forest and ways to manage aspects of it, like invasive species.
Evergreen Cemetery featured on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
The segment highlights volunteer efforts, descendant involvement, and the cemetery's history.
July 22, 2019
Project Awarded Richmond City Council's Richmond Official Joint Recognition Award
Richmond City Council awarded the Historic Evergreen Cemetery project their Richmond Official Join Recognition Award, "in celebration of the dedicated individuals, organizations, and entities that have tirelessly worked for the protection, preservation, cleaning, and restoration of this significant and meaningful historic site.”
Second Round of Community Conversations Held to Inform Master Planning Process
Enrichmond staff and the ExPRT advisory board held a second series of Community Conversations in July to help inform the master planning process. Attendees joined us at the Richmond Main Library, Black History Museum and Cultural Center, and the Fourth Baptist Church. Thank you to all who attended and participated in these discussions!
June 3, 2019
Evergreen Cemetery Awarded UNESCO Designation
UNESCO has awarded this sacred site official designation as “a site of memory associated with the Slave Route Project”—one of the first in the world. The UNESCO designation marks the one-year anniversary of the creation of Evergreen’s restoration advisory team, a group that includes former state Secretary of Administration Viola O. Baskerville, Dr. Johnny Mickens III, great-grandson of Maggie L. Walker, and John Mitchell, great-great nephew of newspaper editor and civil rights leader John Mitchell, Jr.
Soil restoration and site stabilization work in full swing
As summer begins, staff and volunteers at Evergreen are ramping up efforts to keep the plant growth in check. This includes implementing the VA Dept. of Forestry’s recommendations for weed suppression through heavy mulching. The workforce development team is working hard to clear and mulch sites around the cemetery, with enough mulch available thanks to Davey Tree Company’s generous donation of wood chipping services. Evergreen now has its own tractor! The tractor will greatly enhance volunteer efforts to haul away brush.
Enrichmond purchases East End Cemetery
We are now also the owner and steward of historic East End Cemetery, located adjacent to Evergreen. Enrichmond is equally committed to preserving the significant site and working with family members, community members, and volunteers to properly restore it for the benefit of the community.
National Volunteer Month
We nominated three volunteers who work at Evergreen Cemetery for the Community Foundation's Power of Good celebration.
Urban Horticulture Training Team begins work at Evergreen Cemetery
The team - Alvin Jones, Timothy Venable, and Rodney Allen - is part of a workforce development effort, focusing on residents of the East End. The training team helps maintain the cemetery and focuses on special projects to improve the space. In this photo, they are showing where they created a new visitor area with mulch and picnic tables.
Soil restoration work begins with help from Davey Tree Company and the VA Department of Forestry
Based on the recommendations from the VA Dept. of Forestry's forest management plan, we began to deeply mulch certain areas of Evergreen to suppress weeds and add nutrients to the soil as the mulch breaks down over time. Thanks to the generous donation of Davey Tree Company, which chipped downed wood on the property, we have plenty of mulch to begin work.
February 23, 2019
Representatives McEachin and Adams announce the African American Burial Ground Network legislative initiative
Photo: Congressman McEachin with ExPRT member, Viola Baskerville and Enrichmond Board Vice-President, David Young
This legislation would create a voluntary national network of historic African-American burial grounds, and would provide information, technical support, and grants to aid in the research, identification, preservation, and restoration of burial sites within the network. Enrichmond is a proud endorsing organization of this legislation.
Read the official announcement.
Existing Conditions and Community Engagement Approach report delivered
VCU's Center for Urban and Regional Analysis delivered a report that analyzes the community surrounding Evergreen, current conditions of the cemetery, and current community engagement strategies. It also presents a case study of best practices for cemetery restoration.
This document can also be found on the Evergreen Library page.
Advisory team welcomes Pond & Co.
At its February meeting, the ExPRT team met with Pond & Co., kicking off the master-planning process by building upon the ExPRT’s work over the past nine months, including their work in Community Conversations, as well as a range of neighborhood and association meetings.
Project Work Plan and Forestry Plan delivered
Pond, Co. created a Project Work Plan, outlining the process and timeline for the execution of a master plan. The Virginia Dept. of Forestry delivered an Evergreen Community Forest Management Plan, with its recommendations for managing the current conditions of the cemetery's forested areas.
These documents can also be found on the Evergreen Library page.
January 21, 2019
MLK Day of Celebration and Conservation
Over 300 volunteers joined in a morning of service, followed by a ceremony announcing Evergreen Cemetery's perpetual protection under a conservation easement. Virginia Outdoors Foundation and Enrichmond signed the easement following a choir performance by Virginia Union University, Libation Ceremony led by Elegba Folklore Society, and invocation by Rev. Dr. William Eric Jackson of Fourth Baptist Church.
Advisory team forms to lead restoration effort
The team comprises descendant family members, as well as representatives from local institutions, including the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia, Elegba Folklore Society, the African American Historical and Genealogical Society, and the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site.
Enrichmond Foundation purchases the property and begins restoration planning and enhanced clean-up efforts
In May 2017, the Enrichmond Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting grassroots efforts to preserve and create equal access to the city’s public spaces, purchased Evergreen Cemetery—committing itself to facilitate the restoration of the long-neglected sacred site.
State and nonprofit support are established for Evergreen and East End Cemeteries
The Commonwealth of Virginia commits state support to the restoration effort when the Virginia Outdoors Foundation devotes $400,000 to the permanent protection of Evergreen and East End cemeteries. VOF also helps craft legislation sponsored by Delegate Delores McQuinn that provides annual state funding for these and other historic African American cemeteries.
Renewed volunteer efforts begin clearing vegetation
Through the heroic efforts of several National Park Service staff, Virginia Roots, and finally Friends of Evergreen, coordinated volunteer efforts were undertaken over the past 20 years to clear large sections of Evergreen’s overgrowth.
Families navigated undergrowth to honor loved ones
Over the years, many families made it a priority to regularly mow and clear pathways to family gravesites.
Evergreen repeatedly sold and becomes largely overgrown
According to oral history, the cemetery already had fallen on hard times by the 1960s. By 1970, Evergreen’s future was uncertain. It changed hands several times, and entire sections had become overgrown.
Sections, plots, and roads established
By the time Maggie L. Walker was buried at Evergreen in 1934, an elaborate and elegant network of paths and roadways led families and other visitors throughout the 60-acre cemetery.
Evergreen Cemetery established
Evergreen Cemetery was founded by leaders in Richmond’s African American community who lived, worked, worshipped, and raised families in this neighborhood. Unfortunately, there was no provision made for perpetual care of the cemetery and, without an endowment to help maintain the grounds, upkeep proved increasingly challenging.