University of Richmond installs signage for burial ground on campus

Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 9:30 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The University of Richmond has installed signage on campus to mark the sacred space of a former burial ground for enslaved persons and describe what is known about the desecration that occurred there.

The signage will be permanently acknowledged going forward.

The university plans to memorialize the enslaved burial ground on what is now part of the campus and the history of the land on which the University now sits, including its intersections with enslavement.

An informative sign with a QR code links to a research report by Lauranett Lee, a public historian and UR professor leading the historical research, and Shelby Driskill, a UR graduate researcher, who have explored the reported enslaved burial ground on campus.

Their research has been studied in numerous classes and discussed in various open forums across campus, including as part of first-year orientation.

In January, the University of Richmond President Ronald A. Crutcher established a Burial Ground Memorialization Committee to engage a range of stakeholders in discussions. “Our story is often inspirational, but there are aspects of the past we have long ignored, including the significant history of the land on which our campus now stands,” Crutcher said.

“The signage signals the burial ground’s important history,” Crutcher said. “The signage is only temporary, though, as the work of the committee will lead to the shaping of a permanent memorial.”

The committee is also consulting with descendants of individuals enslaved on the land to solicit their thoughts about the most appropriate memorialization.

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