End of an Era

It is with great sadness that we announce the suspension of our on-site reclamation work at East End. Many of you have volunteered with us over the years, helping to clear nearly 10 acres of the once-overgrown cemetery. Since work began in July 2013, we have uncovered more than 3,300 grave markers, hauled countless tons of brush and illegally dumped trash, learned a whole lot of history, and made many friends along the way. 

Dusk at East End Cemetery, 10 November 2020. Photo by Brian Palmer.

You are likely aware of our fraught relationship with the Enrichmond Foundation, which acquired East End in spring 2019. Enrichmond continues to claim that we refused its offers of partnership. No such offers were ever made. Instead, Enrichmond presented us with an acquisitive and profoundly unfair volunteer agreement in May. We retained legal counsel, made counterproposals, and offered concessions. If we conceded more, we would be completely subservient to an organization that has proven itself to be an irresponsible and opportunistic steward of the cemetery.

Regardless, we will continue our other work with our friends and partners, people who share our commitment to painting a fuller, truer picture of Richmond’s complex past. A digital archive devoted to East End is now available online — more on this soon — and we will resume our oral history project once Covid subsides. We will also continue pitching in at other historic African American cemeteries that volunteers are reclaiming from nature and neglect.

We are deeply grateful for the many ways you’ve supported our work over the years, and we hope you’ll keep following us online. We may not be pulling vines at East End, but that doesn’t mean we’ve turned our backs on the cemetery. We’ll still share stories and photographs. And, of course, we’ll continue to visit East End regularly, both to conduct genealogical research and to spend time at this hallowed site that has become so important to all of us.

If you would like to join us in pressing for oversight of Enrichmond’s activities at East End and Evergreen, as well as accountability for the taxpayer money spent there, please contact the elected and appointed officials listed below. And please don’t hesitate to email (friendsofeastend@gmail.com) or DM us if you have questions. 

The Friends of East End

• The Reverend Tyrone Nelson, Henrico County Supervisor–Varina (location of East End Cemetery)
varina@henrico.us; Pastor@smzbc.org
(804) 501-4208
Board of Supervisors
P. O. Box 90775
Henrico, VA 23273-0775

• John Vithoulkas, Henrico County Manager
(804) 501-4206

• Cari Tretina, Henrico County Chief of Staff

Board of Supervisors
P. O. Box 90775
Henrico, VA 23273-0775

• Levar Stoney, Mayor of Richmond
(804) 646-7970
Mayor’s Office
900 E. Broad St., Suite 201
Richmond, VA 23219

• Cynthia Newbille, Councilmember, Richmond City Council, East End 7th Voter District
(804) 646-3012
900 E. Broad St., Suite 305
Richmond, VA 23219

• Brett Glymph, Executive Director, Virginia Outdoors Foundation
bglymph@vofonline.org; brett@vof.org
(540) 347-7727
Virginia Outdoors Foundation
39 Garrett St., Suite 200
Warrenton, VA 20186

• Julie Langan, Director, Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources/State Historic Preservation Officer
(804) 482-6087
Virginia Department of Historic Resources
2801 Kensington Avenue
Richmond, VA 23221

• Jennifer McClellan, state senator
(804) 698-7509
District Office
P. O. Box 396
Richmond, VA 23218

• Delores McQuinn, state delegate
(804) 698-1070
District Office
P.O. Box 406
Richmond, VA 23218

• Joe Morrissey, state senator
(804) 737-1626
District Office
701 German School Road
Richmond, VA 23225

• Ralph Northam, governor
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond, VA 23218

• A. Donald McEachin, US congressman
314 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

• Tim Kaine, US senator
(202) 224-4024
231 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

• Mark Warner, US senator
(202) 224-2023
703 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

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