McEachin and Kaine support nomination of Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground as a National Historic Site
Shockoe Hill African Cemetery was the first designated cemetery in the city of Richmond for enslaved and free black people.
There is no official register or database for African American burial sites, making it difficult for family members and descendants to visit ancestor burial sites.
Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) sent a letter to Julie Langan, Director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, supporting the nomination of Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground as national historic site. .
“This letter is to express our support for the nomination of Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Given the history and known location of this African cemetery, we recognize the value of the preservation of such a space and strongly recommend its listing on the National Register of Historic Places,” Rep. McEachin and Senator Kaine wrote in their letter.
“This is one of the many reasons we co-sponsored legislation in the 116th Congress that would have directed the National Park Service to conduct a study of ways to identify, interpret, preserve and record places unmarked, previously abandoned, underserviced or other burial sites related to the historical African-American experience,” the letter continues. “Therefore, without question, we support the nomination of the African Burying Ground before the Department of Resources history of Virginia.”
During the 116th Congress, Representative McEachin helped lead the introduction of the African American Burial Places Network Act to begin the process of establishing a formalized network of African American cemeteries and burial sites.
Rep. McEachin intends to introduce new legislation next week to build on those efforts, take more immediate action, and establish a competitive grant program to preserve these gravesites.
Read the full letter here.