Volunteers seek to restore historic Richmond cemetery after years of vandalism

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Caskets and grave sites are in ruins at Evergreen Cemetery in Richmond. Much of the historic African American cemetery has been abandoned, vandalized and overgrown.

Evergreen Cemetery is home to an estimated 5000 graves, including many influential African Americans like Maggie Walker.

“This is the history of Richmond many of the African Americans that were prominent and not prominent were buried at these cemeteries,” said restoration site manager John Shuck.

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Just a few feet from Walker’s grave sits the Braxton mausoleum, a shell of what it once was.

“The mausoleum itself has been vandalized over and over, over the years,” said Shuck.

John Shuck is one of many volunteers trying to restore Evergreen and the East End Cemetery.

25398A9F5CB64CA1885E1974B88F0490Shuck says the 60-acre property is now owned by the U.K. Corporation. While they have been supportive of the volunteer efforts, they say they just don’t have the resources to do the cleanup themselves.

“The old historic part of the cemetery, the older part that’s overgrown, they don’t have the funds or the staff to maintain it,” said Shuck.

This leaves most of the historic plots broken, vandalized and covered in overgrown brush.

Just recently Shuck and other volunteers were able to start working on Evergreen, but now they are hoping to get the communities support.

“We made a good start but we’ve got a lot to go,” said Shuck. “It takes a lot of man power.”

Shuck said restoration will likely take years, but things will move faster if they have more support.

For information on how you can help volunteer or to donate, visit their website.

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