Author: RyanSmith

  • RIP Representative McEachin

    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 […]

  • Battlefield Park Road Cemetery

    Today new signage was unveiled at the Battlefield Park Road Cemetery in eastern Henrico County. This is not the nearby Fort Harrison National Cemetery, but a private family cemetery, listed in the “Henrico County Cemeteries” study as the Harris-Lawrence-Jackson Cemetery. It is located at 7921 Battlefield Park Road in Varina for those looking to visit. […]

  • VCU’s Apology

    On September 16, 2022, Virginia Commonwealth University’s board of visitors approved a resolution apologizing for the 1968 heart transplant episode in which Bruce Tucker’s live heart was taken without his and his family’s consent at the Medical College of Virginia’s hospital. The resolution also acknowledges and regrets the earlier practice of targeting Black graves to […]

  • The Long Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe

    In 1922, the admirers of Edgar Allan Poe in the Poe Foundation adopted the “Old Stone House” on Richmond’s  Main Street to serve as a library and museum in tribute to the city’s famous son. The Poe Museum has since grown to be a beloved fixture and notable home to Poe memorabilia and events. This […]

  • No More Confederate Flags at Hollywood

    Rex Springston just published a useful investigative report on the Hollywood Cemetery Company’s changing display policies regarding Confederate flags, available here at the Virginia Mercury. It follows up on his earlier piece from 2020 written in the midst of the protests against Confederate monuments, where he reported that Hollywood had “temporarily” removed the once-ubiquitous rebel […]

  • Enrichmond’s collapse

    In early 2016, Richmond’s Evergreen Cemetery was owned by a private entity that for a long time could not manage the site’s overgrown, distressed sixty acres. Adjoining it was East End Cemetery, likewise suffering in its own way in legal limbo without funding or management beyond a core of families and volunteers. Since then, the […]

  • The Crest of Shockoe Hill

    What a profound week for the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground. It began on Sunday, June 12, with the unveiling of the state historical highway marker at the corner of Fifth and Hospital Streets. The marker was sponsored by the Department of Historic Resources, and it may possibly be the first official signage that the […]

  • Gravestone carver registry

    Just offering out here the idea to create a registry/index of stonecarvers who worked in central Virginia in the 19th and 20th centuries, as that idea was just offered to me by Joanna Wilson Green at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Hopefully we can follow up with another post with an announcement along those […]

  • Enrichmond update/My conclusion with John Sydnor

    John Sydnor is apparently no longer with the Enrichmond Foundation. He had served as Enrichmond’s executive director since 2011, with the support of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and other political allies, and he was a central player in Enrichmond’s dismaying stewardship of Evergreen and East End Cemeteries. Way back in June 2017, I met Sydnor […]

  • What the Dog Knows

    Last week I was able to witness something special in our region’s cemeteries — the work of cadaver dogs and their handlers trying to discern the nature of a burial ground’s landscape. The primary advocate for Richmond’s Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground, Lenora McQueen, had seen a 2021 presentation by Cat Warren on how cadaver […]