RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities was awarded a grant for the upkeep of the Mt. Olivet Cemetery, a historic African American cemetery.

Mt. Olivet is adjacent to Maury Cemetery on 2700 Maury Street. Parks and Recreation said they were able to identify 4,617 African American graves in Mt. Olivet with the help of Kathryn Whittington from the Valentine Museum.

“We are extremely grateful for our partnership with the Valentine Museum, and specifically for Ms. Whittington for taking on this project of identifying the grave sites,” said Chris Frelke, Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. 

The $23k grant is from the Department of Historic Resources (DHR) will allow for the routine maintenance of the gravesites. This includes preserving grave markers, the erection of new markers and vegetation management.

“This is a significant step in the right direction to care for our ancestors and honor our history,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. “I’m thankful to the state for this grant, which will help us give these gravesites the dignity and respect they deserve.”

This is a grant that Parks and Recreation will need to apply for every year.

The city said they have already begun to work on the cemetery by pruning trees and ornamental plants. Next, they will improve the quality of the turf, lot enclosures, repair monuments and put up proper signage to mark the rotatable individuals buried at Maury Cemetery.