I was saddened to hear of the death of Congressman A. Donald McEachin on November 28. In my own most recent experience with Rep. McEachin, he was talking with the local African American descendant community about his co-sponsored African American Burial Grounds Preservation Program bill. Around that same time, he had issued a letter to the Enrichmond Foundation’s board, in which he insisted on greater transparency and accountability for Evergreen and East End Cemeteries. Not long before, he wrote a letter in support of the embattled Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground.
Previously, I had heard him speak eloquently about his own family’s connections to these cemeteries and the importance of their preservation. His brave battles with cancer were well known, adding a poignancy to his commitments. His funeral is scheduled for December 7 at St. Paul’s Baptist Church. For tributes, his family asks that donations be made to Virginia Union University’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, where the Congressman had earned a degree. His presence remains on our landscape and in the community.