The Friends of East End is an all-volunteer nonprofit established in 2017. We grew out of a cleanup effort that began in 2013 at East End Cemetery, a historic African American burial ground in Henrico County, Virginia. The sixteen-acre cemetery, founded in 1897, had been overwhelmed by dense overgrowth and illegal dumping.

With the help of thousands of other volunteers, we worked steadily for years to clear the vegetation, remove the trash, and recover more than 3,300 hidden grave markers. In tandem with this hands-on restoration, we conducted extensive research to reclaim the history of the cemetery and the community it served (see links to resources below).

In 2020, we suspended our on-site work after being forced out of the cemetery by the state-subsidized owner, the Enrichmond Foundation/Parity LLC. We continue to research East End, monitor its condition, and advocate for its preservation. We also collaborate with other groups working to reclaim historic Black cemeteries in Richmond and beyond.

In partnership with descendants and the broader community, we seek to transform East End into a public site of memory, contemplation, and beauty that honors Richmond’s African American past and present.

About the cemetery

For more information about East End and the people buried there, please visit eastendcemeteryrva.com. Additional resources include:

  • A DIGITAL MAP of the cemetery, created by the East End Cemetery Collaboratory, a partnership of the University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the Friends of East End Cemetery. The digital infrastructure for the map was built by Robert K. Nelson and Justin Madron/UR Digital Scholarship Lab, Stephanie Spera/UR Department of Geography and the Environment, and Beth Zizzamia and Taylor Holden/UR Spatial Analysis Lab. 
  • A growing DIGITAL ARCHIVE, a searchable repository of records and research, also created by the Collaboratory.
  • Cemetery FACT SHEET, for a quick overview of East End and the reclamation effort (updated February 2020)
  • SURVEY OF VETERANS’ MARKERS (updated June 2020)