East End/Evergreen Cemeteries Community Conversation

The wheels of justice are still turning slowly for the Enrichmond Foundation’s accountability following its mismanagement of Evergreen Cemetery, East End Cemetery, and broader community relations. In the first half of 2023, various news outlets have reported that the fiscal agent is apparently under investigation by the FBI and the Virginia state attorney general’s office. A load of the Foundation’s records have been transferred to the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation where they have been available to some for review. Recent coverage includes an overview from reporter Ned Oliver here.

In the meantime, Richmond’s city council is returning to the possibility of acquiring the two cemeteries, whose ownership status remains unclear. Back in February 2023, city council members Cynthia Newbille and Anne-Frances Lambert introduced a resolution requesting city staff to investigate a plan to take control of the cemeteries. Given current funding arrangements, their proposal is a controversial move that would have enormous repercussions on the seven other cemeteries owned by the city, as the city has already made care commitments to families buried in those that it has not been able to keep.

After a delay in executing the February resolution, it appears to be headed back to city council this fall. In the meantime, city councilmember Cynthia Newbille will be hosting an “Evergreen Cemetery and East End Cemetery Community Conversation and Engagement Meeting” on Saturday, September 9 [September 16 -see below], 2023, from 11:00am-12:30pm at the Powhatan Hill Community Center located at 5051 Northampton Street. For the meeting, Newbille “invites and encourages all Richmond East End 7th Voter District residents and those interested in the status of these cemeteries to attend.” That includes all of us, and I look forward to hearing from the Friends of East End and the Descendants Council there.

Update 9/6/23: We have learned that the Community Conversation event scheduled for September 9 has been postponed one week. It will meet at the same location and time on Saturday, September 16. See here for updated information.

Update 9/10/23: Public letter from the Friends of East End Cemetery on the cemeteries’ future, published in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch.