RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - I was given a tour of a forgotten land.
It would have been more encouraging if it had been in a Central American jungle and we were looking for the ruins of a Mayan temple. No, it was Richmond, and we were seeking the ruins of what was supposed to be a symbol of blacks finding a measure of equality.
My tour guide was John Shuck and he is leading a group of volunteers trying to recover the jungle that has become Evergreen Cemetery, located in the far East End of Richmond.
It became the final resting place of many of Richmond's leading African-American citizens, including Maggie Lena Walker and John Mitchell, Jr. Their plots and the surrounding plots are cleared, though roughly. There are thousands that aren't, many forever lost.
Opened with no means for perpetual care, the cemetery has been left mostly unchecked and suffers from vandalism and is overgrown by trees, ivy (poison and English) and weeds.
Clearing the cemetery will take years, and the small core of volunteers needs your help. Rally your friends and family and give three hours of your time one Saturday morning.
BLOG: Recovering Evergreen Cemetery one plot at a time
BLOG: Touring forgotten Evergreen Cemetery
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Michael Paul Williams
Church Hill People's News: Evergreen Cemetery
Flickr photo group: Evergreen Cemetery
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