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.

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Volunteer as an individual, or bring your group!

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

Fall 2019

Site restoration scheduled to begin

Ongoing

Evergreen Volunteer Days

Join us every Saturday 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.

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.

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.

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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
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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.
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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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