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.

Interested in volunteering?

Volunteer as an individual, or bring your group!

Email us for more information.

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!

Restoration Timeline

2020

Site restoration scheduled to begin

Ongoing

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.

July 2019

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.

Read more!

May 2019

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.

April 2019

National Volunteer Month

We nominated three volunteers who work at Evergreen Cemetery for the Community Foundation's Power of Good celebration. 
Read more!

March 2019

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.

March 2019

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.

February 2019

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.

February 2019

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.

January 2019

Project Work Plan and Forestry Plan delivered

Pond, Co. created a Project Work Planoutlining 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.

Read more

October 2018

Community conversations held

The advisory team and Enrichmond facilitated a series of nine Community Conversations, to connect with–and learn from–as many Evergreen families and stakeholders as possible
Read more:
Community Conversation FAQs

June 2018

Advisory team forms to lead restoration effort

Evergreen Cemetery Advisory Team Meeting

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.
Read more

2017

Enrichmond Foundation purchases the property and begins restoration planning and enhanced clean-up efforts

A walkway in Evergreen Cemetery in need of restoration work

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.

1999

Renewed volunteer efforts begin clearing vegetation

Evergreen Cemetery in 1999

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.

1970s-1990s

Families navigated undergrowth to honor loved ones

 

Historic Maggie Walker Gravesite in Evergreen Cemetery

Over the years, many families made it a priority to regularly mow and clear pathways to family gravesites.

1970s-1990s

Evergreen repeatedly sold and becomes largely overgrown

 

Evergreen Cemetery as seen with severe overgrowth due to lack of maintenance

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.

Early 1900s

Sections, plots, and roads established

 

Evergreen Cemetery historic Map as planned in the early 1900s

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.

1891

Evergreen Cemetery established

Evergreen Cemetery's establishing document in 1891

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.

 

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