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Honoring This Ground: Commemorating the History and Community of East End Cemetery

Part of the University of Richmond’s School of Arts & Sciences Contested Spaces: This Ground.

This event has been postponed until Fall 2020, please check back for a new date once it is safe to gather in large groups. For now, please check out the links at the bottom to our digital work.

East End Cemetery was founded in 1897 by prominent black Richmonders who were excluded from cemeteries established for the white population, such as Hollywood Cemetery. As with other African American burial grounds of the period, plots were maintained primarily by families. However, the weight of Jim Crow’s racially discriminatory policies, the lack of public investment, and the displacement of many African American communities took a heavy toll on East End Cemetery. By the 1970s, it was almost completely overgrown, and at some point the paper burial records were lost. Since 2013, volunteers with the Friends of East End have been working to clear vegetation, uncover grave markers, and piece together the history of the community at rest in the cemetery. UR and VCU students and faculty have participated in this effort since 2017.

This event brings together students, faculty, and community members to honor the people buried at East End Cemetery through commemorative acts, oral history videos, maps, presentations of research (historical, archaeological, and demographic), and a collaborative art project (cyanotype quilt).

Thank you to the following organizations for supporting this initiative through programming and coursework:

East End Cemetery Collaboratory:

 Friends of East End:

  • East End Cemetery Oral History Project
  • Erin Hollaway Palmer, founding member and co-director of oral history project
  • Brian Palmer, founding member and co-director of oral history project

Oakwood Arts:

University of Richmond:

Virginia Commonwealth University:

For more information about East End Cemetery:

Sponsored by The School of Arts & Sciences, UR Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, VCU Division of Community Engagement, Friends of East End, and Oakwood Arts