New street signs honoring African Americans unveiled in Jackson Ward neighborhood

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — More than a dozen street signs were unveiled in Richmond’s Jackson Ward honoring African Americans who helped shape the history of the neighborhood. Sharing untold stories of Black America, it’s no coincidence the big reveal was this past weekend, during the 2nd Street Festival.

The history and rich culture of Jackson Ward is now being shared from a new lens. As Richmonders drive through the neighborhood, they will notice banners and brown honorary street signs peppered throughout the area. There are fifteen pivotal men and women that are now on display, each making a lasting imprint in the neighborhood.

Passionate about sharing the stories of Black Richmond, Enjoli Moon and her sister, Dr. Sesha Joi Moon, created the JXN Project. The street signs and banners are a part of a bigger effort to contextualize the neighborhood, sharing the ‘truth’ in an area where several streets are named after Confederate Generals or slave owners. It’s also a project to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Jackson Ward.

“Richmond is one of those places historically that hasn’t really gotten its proper acknowledgment in terms of the Black American narrative,” Moon told 8News. “I hope that as Richmonders ride through the streets they feel empowered.”

During the 2nd Street Festival on Saturday and Sunday, the hard work of the sisters in conjunction with community partners came to fruition. The streets signs and banners were unveiled virtually and folks at the festival were able to take a tour and ask questions.

“We were able to interact with the community,” Moon said. “People had a great sense of pride and excitement around the fact that they were seeing people that they were familiar with up on those signs.”

Familiar names like Oliver Hill Sr., Giles B. Jackson and Maggie Walker were among those honored, but other narratives displayed are often untold. Moon took 8News to the corner of Second and Leigh streets, now also known as Neverett Eggleston Plaza.

“It is at this intersection that Neverett Eggleston Sr. started what would become the Eggleston diner in the early 1900s,” Moon explained.

The diner quickly became a social hub flourishing in the neighborhood. The Eggleston legacy is still thriving today in 2021. Moon shared Eggleston Sr.’s grandson operates Richmond’s popular restaurant Croaker’s Spot.

There’s also Abraham Skipwith, who is the first known Black property owner. As well as Lorna Pinckney, the VCU graduate built a legacy in the arts community in the neighborhood with ‘Tuesday Verses’, featuring jazz and poetry.

Each name helped shape the Black experience in Richmond and beyond. Richmond City Council supported the JXN Project, approving the ordinances for the designated street signs and banners earlier this year.

The honorary street designations are located at prominent intersections throughout the ward, including:

  • Abraham Skipwith Alley — Leigh Street and Judah Street
  • Bill “Bojangles” Robinson Boulevard — Leigh Street and Chamberlayne Avenue
  • W.W. Browne Road — Chamberlayne Avenue and Jackson Street
  • John Jasper Way — Chamberlayne Avenue and Duval Street [Note: This street designation was previously secured by Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church.]
  • Lillie Estes Lane — St. James and Charity Street
  • Charles Gilpin Crossing — St. James and Charity Street
  • Lucy Goode Brooks Square — St. John Street and Charity Street
  • Neverett Eggleston Plaza — 2nd Street and Leigh Street
  • A.D. Price Avenue — 3rd Street and Leigh Street
  • John Mitchell Manor — 3rd Street and Leigh Street
  • Giles B. Jackson Walk — 3rd Street and Clay Street
  • Oliver Hill Drive — 3rd Street and Marshall Street
  • Lorna Pinckney Place — 2nd Street and Marshall Street
  • Rosa Dixon Bowser Branch — Clay Street and Clay Street
  • Maggie Walker Way — Adams Street and Broad Street

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