Proposed bill would provide funding to help clean up historic cemeteries

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A new bill in the General Assembly could help with clean-up efforts at two local African American cemeteries.

Right on the border of Henrico County and Richmond lies the East End and Evergreen Cemeteries. Home to thousands of graves, volunteers have been working for months to uncover graves and clear overgrown brush.

“You’re uncovering history out here we never know who these people are or the next gravestone we will uncover,” volunteer John Shuck said.

The new bill introduced by Delegate Delores McQuinn would provide funding for nonprofits to preserve historical African American cemeteries and graves. John Shuck, who heads up to the clean-up efforts says the money would be a huge help.

“It’s to provide maintenance for these cemeteries and that’s the big issue out here in these cemeteries. Clearing it is one thing. Keeping it maintained is another issue,” Shuck said.

The bill would give five dollars for each grave, monument and marker of African Americans who lived between 1800 and 1900.

For East End and Evergreen Cemeteries, that would include nearly 7,000 gravesites.

“A lot of Richmond’s history is buried in these cemeteries,” Shuck said.

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