Bills seek state money for more historic African-American cemeteries

Bills seek state money for more historic African-American cemeteries
Volunteers help clean up Evergreen Cemetery in Richmond's East End. (Source: NBC12)

As the 2019 session of Virginia’s General Assembly ramps into full gear, state lawmakers are considering a handful of bills that would add at least 10 historic African-American cemeteries to the roster of black burial grounds eligible to receive maintenance funds from the state.

The new bills follow legislation passed in 2017 and expanded in 2018, which marked the first time the state dedicated dollars to the preservation and maintenance of historic black cemeteries.

SB 1128, introduced by Sen. Mamie E. Locke, D-Hampton, would make over 500 graves in three different cemeteries eligible to receive state funds for their ongoing upkeep.

The proposed cemeteries are Bassette’s Cemetery, Elmerton Cemetery and the Tucker Family Cemetery, all in the city of Hampton, part of Locke’s district, which also includes portions of Newport News, Portsmouth City and York County.

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