HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Friends of the East End Cemetery has won a national grant worth $25,000.
The all-volunteer non-profit competed in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program that gives grants to different projects in education, safety, and community development across the county. They were voted into the top 40 by supporters after being one of 200 finalists selected by State Farm from a field of 2,000 applicants.
The organization has worked to restore East End Cemetery, a historic African American burial ground in Henrico County, since 2013. Over the years, they have connected with friends and relatives of the deceased who have informally shared their loved ones’ stories.
The Friends will now use that grant money to further their oral history initiative that aims “to capture stories of African American Richmond that might otherwise be lost,” the non-profit said in a news release. The project builds on genealogical and historical research the group has conducted since cemetery restoration efforts began.
“Black Virginians from all walks of life are buried at East End Cemetery. There are lawyers and letter carriers, ministers and midwives, bankers and barbers, teachers and tobacco stemmers — a true cross-section of African American society. Their stories span slavery, the Civil War, segregation, and Civil Rights. There is much to learn from headstones and documents, but many details live only in the memories of descendants,” a spokesperson said.
The interviews will be made accessible to the public through several online portals. For more information, visit here.