RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A new historic marker has been built in Westwood Village, a neighborhood in Richmond’s West End, to commemorate the community’s rich history.
The marker, which was officially issued by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, is sponsored by the Friends of Westwood Playground, a local community organization.
“It’s overwhelming, it’s a wonderful accomplishment for our community,” said Rev. Dr. Jeanette L. Brown, president of the Friends of Westwood Playground. “For us as a people, in spite of all of the barriers that were place, they decided to stay and fight.”
Community members gathered around the marker on Sunday to listen as speakers reminisced about their time in the neighborhood, and spoke about the importance of the marker.
Westwood Village was originally established by freed slaves in the years following the Civil War. The nascent community, according to the marker, formed a “vibrant, self-sustaining community with many social and cultural organizations.”
The neighborhood was annexed by Richmond in the 1940’s, withthe intention of turning the area into a city park, displacing the mostly Black residents.
But residents fought back, successfully saving the neighborhood – and going on to fight forthe integration of Richmond schools in the 60’s.
“We grew up in this neighborhood, and I can say that this is a neighborhood like none other,” said Tammy Rose, vice-president of the Friends of Westwood Playground.
The marker is located at the intersection of Dunbar Street and Willow Lawn Drive.