Lawmakers to Consider Extra Funding For Historically Black Cemeteries

Jan 4, 2017

The four cemeteries include East End Cemetery, a children's cemetery and what may be a cemetery for black Confederate soldiers.
Credit Mallory Noe-Payne / WVTF / RADIO IQ

After integration, historically black cemeteries around the state fell to the wayside, often unkempt, uncared for, and forgotten.

Now a state lawmaker is hoping to bring them some much-needed attention. Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

 

State Delegate Dolores McQuinn first heard about Evergreen in the 1990’s. The historically black cemetery outside Richmond is the final resting place of some of the region’s most famous African-American leaders. But for years it lay overgrown. 

“And so I just thought it was absolutely imperative that people come together realize the rich history that’s there and that the cemetery needed perpetual care,” recalls McQuinn.

More Coverage: All-But-Forgotten Cemeteries

To help provide that care, McQuinn -- a Democrat from Richmond -- is suggesting the state chip in $5 per grave. She hopes that funding can join with local efforts, not just for Richmond’s cemeteries but across the state. 

"Hopefully if we can find resources that this would encourage and inspire other communities to begin to identify those sites," she says. "And let’s begin to mark them and if at all possible (find out) who’s in those particular cemeteries?"

McQuinn argues that money has been set aside to care for Confederate graves; she hopes fellow lawmakers will see equal importance in this history.