City votes to take over slave burial ground - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

City votes to take over slave burial ground

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's official; Richmond now controls a controversial slave burial ground that had been used as a Virginia Commonwealth University parking lot.  Tuesday, the city will hold a ceremony to commemorate the move.  But some, including those who fought hardest for this to happen, still aren't happy. 

On the very ground they worked to protect, where they've held countless press conferences and protests, the Virginia NAACP asked again for a change. They object to Michael Rao's presence at a ceremony transferring the land from the school he runs to the city.

"He displayed himself as a man without conscience, care or concern about the blatant and willful desecration and disrespect to our ancestors," said Sa'ad El-Amin.

After years of debate, it was only Saturday when VCU officially banned people from parking on the sacred ground.

At Monday's council meeting, that conflict was put aside. In fact, council members specifically thanked both NAACP leaders and President Rao for their help. Council approved the transfer of ownership and a gift from contractors, who have donated $123,000 worth of construction services to remove the asphalt.

"We hope that tomorrow we will have a good turn out to show how appreciative Richmond is of the work that's being done," said Councilwoman Ellen Robertson.

With that work, a storied history will be uncovered.

"The world needs to know this history and we can't hide it," said Councilman Marty Jewell.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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