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Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project


Burial Ground




September is RPEC Month at The Thrifty Quaker Thrift Shop. Midlothian Station Shopping Center, 13567 Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian VA 23113   (804) 794-7158. Store hours: Mon.-Fri, 9:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. and Sat. 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.  All September sales benefit the Richmond Peace Education Center. Please shop and donate items throughout the month.

 Open Discussion on “How can we revive the anti-war movement in the Richmond area?” Sponsored by the Defenders. Time & place to be announced. (If interested, please respond to

Sat., Sept. 12 - 6th District Town Meetings on the 2nd Saturdays of the month, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon at the Bank of America Building, 12th & E. Main St. 6th district council representative Ellen Robertson hosts. Contact for more information.

Sat., Sept. 12 - Virginia Peoples Assembly Continuations Committee Meeting, 1-4:00 pm at Asbury United Methodist Church, 324 N. 29th Street, Richmond (23223) in Church Hill. Focus on planning for 2010 Peoples Agenda and VA General Assembly. Visit or contact for more information.

Mon., Sept. 14 - Richmond City Council Meeting, 900 E. Broad St. 2nd floor Council Chambers, 6:00 p.m.

Tues., Sept. 15 – RePHRAME Community Forum on Public Housing "One City One Community" to promote the demand for “1-for-1 Replacement of Public Housing in Gilpin Court & Fay Towers” - 6 p.m., Fay Towers Activity Room, 1202 N. 1st St., Richmond, VA. Sponsored by “RePHRAME - Residents of Public Housing in Richmond Against Mass Evictions, an alliance of public housing residents, advocates, and allies committed to housing justice for all in Richmond.” Information: Legal Aid Justice Center - (804) 643-1086 -

Sat. and Sun., Sep. 26-27 - RYPP Conflict Resolution Training for Teen Trainers, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. Open to youth from 8th grade through age 20. Completion qualifies participants to become members of the RYPP teen training team. Free! Application required. Download an application. Email completed applications to Applications can also be mailed to RPEC, 400 W. 32nd St., Richmond VA 23225. Call 232-1002 for more information.


Fri. - Sun., October 2 - 4 - 2nd Street Festival in historic Jackson Ward.

Fri. - Sun., Oct. 9 - 11 - Richmond Folk Festival on the grounds of New Market Corporation and the American Civil War Center at Tredegar.

Sat., Oct. 10 - 7th Annual Commemoration of Gabriel and Burial Ground for Negroes - This year's program includes an afternoon tour of Shockoe Bottom and evening program with sneak peek at "Meet Me in the Bottom" VCU produced documentary of community struggle to reclaim the Burial Ground for Negroes", performances by some of Richmond's local artists. Tour from 2-4pm, break for dinner, program from 7-9pm and Burial Ground ceremony at 10pm. Click here for flier.

Saturday, November 7, 6 p.m - RPEC Annual Auction and Dinner, Peacemaker of the Year Honoree: Richmond Organization for Sexual Minority Youth, to be held at the Troutman Sanders Bldg., 1000 Haxall Point. Great food, good friends, beautiful music, and great items to bid on. Reservations available by calling 232-1002 or emailing 

Please call ahead to make sure information listed for a given event is current. As a bi-monthly publication we do not normally list events held on a weekly basis.

Note: Listing of an event does not necessarily imply an endorsement by this website or the Richmond Defender newspaper.



The African American Image in Virginia

February 1–December 30, 2009

Covering almost four centuries of African American history and culture in Virginia through pictorial representation in art, this exhibition explores various mediums to show how images of blacks have changed throughout the Commonwealth’s history.  The almost fifty images on display in the exhibition—from books, sheet music, newspapers, broadsides, and much more in the Virginia Historical Society’s collection—show visitors the way whites and blacks have depicted African Americans in society.  Positive and negative images are included, and sometimes paired, as a means of examining the changing status of African Americans. 



Mondays at Noon: DefendersLIVE, our social justice news and commentary for Richmond and everywhere else as we learn about it. The show airs on radio at 97.3 LP FM in Richmond, Virginia or via Internet stream at Host Ana Edwards can be contacted at

Quarterly: The Virginia Defender newspaper is published and distributed to more than 300 locations throughout Richmond, the state and the mid-Atlantic region. A PDF of the newspaper can be viewed and/or downloaded from the website as well.

Every Saturday: Volunteer Clean-up Day, 8:00 am - 9:00 am at Evergreen Cemetery. Volunteers meet at the cemetery on Saturday mornings at 8:00 a.m. Please call the caretakers to let them know that you want to meet them; they will provide tools and gas equipment for you to use. Phone: (804) 643-4702

2nd Saturdays: African American Genealogy Group at William Byrd Community House, 224 S. Cherry Street, in the Grace Ahrents Free Library. Research your family history through the WBCH Technical Learning Center for the Center for African American Genealogical Research, Inc., based in Fredericksburg, VA. WBCH hosts monthly workshops with special guests from 1- 3 p.m. For more information about CAAGRI go to their website at

April 3: Richmond Liberation Day - commemorate the day a regiment of Colored Troops lead the Union Army's march into Richmond to liberate the city from Conferderate control.

August 30: The planned date for Gabriel's rebellion and 2007 pardon

September 22: National Mali Day - On this day in 1960 the nation of Mali asserts its independence from the colonial rule of France.

October 10: Annual Commemoration of the Life of Gabriel, Rebellion Lead and Freedom Fighter

December: Annual Defenders Fighting Fund and Community Awards Dinner

Thank you for joining us on Friday, Oct. 10th for the
6TH Annual Commemoration of Gabriel and the Burial Ground for Negroes"! The presentations were dynamic and informative. The discussion was deep and motivating. We are grateful to Dr. Blakey for his presentation. Co-Sponsored by the Sacred Ground Project and UNIA-ACL Prosser-Truth Div. #456 (
VCU Department of African American Studies (AAS) embarks on several community outreach projects:
Peep This - an mentoring and skills development project involving five teen-aged African American young men who will learn every aspect of documentary film-making in the course of producing their own film. The project is a partnership between the AAS, Family Resource Center in Church Hill, Richmond's Slave Trail Comission and the Elegba Folklore Society. A parallel project is being developed for two groups of young people in Bamako and Segou, the capital and second cities of the Islamic Republic of Mali.  
Oral History: Voices of Black Richmonders Over 90 - an oral history project of the AAS, Richmond's Slave Trail Commission and the Elegba Folklore Society, this project will provide the content for the documentary being developed through the Peep This project. If you have family members or know of someone with family members who are from Richmond and over the age of 90 who would be interested in participating in a project like this, please contact Dr. Shawn Utsey at (804) 828-1134.
Documentary: Burial Ground for Negroes - AAS has put together a team of young film-makers to produce a documentary about the "Burial Ground for Negroes" in Shockoe Bottom historical district of Richmond. The film-makers are students from variety of academic disciplines and hope to bring their differing perspectives to an examination of the meaning of this site to both the African American and broader community in Richmond as it is being reclaimed. VCU now owns the property that contains the burial ground site, but while recently agreeing to allocate a small section for preservation and memorial, it wants the bulk of the property to continue to be used as a parking lot for students and employees.The site is already considered a part of the Trail of Enslaved Africans, and included in an annual Torchlit Walk in honor of Juneteenth which marks June 19, 1865 when the Black people of Galveston Texas first learned they'd been freed two years before through the Emancipation Proclamation. 
Community Course in African American Studies - This course is intended to introduce students to the history, culture, politics, and contemporary life of persons of African descent living in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas. The course will utilize lecture, film, discussion, and active participation for instructional purposes.  Scheduled to run from October through December 2008, classes will be held at the Family Resource Center. Free and open to the public, registration may be required. FIRST CLASS: Ancient African Civilizations, Oct. 22 at 7:00 p.m. at East District Family Resource Center, 2405 Jefferson Ave. (23223)
If you would like to learn more about any of these projects please contact Dr. Shawn Utsey at or (804) 828-1134. 


> Tuesday, Sep. 23 - RICHMOND - PUBLIC FORUM ON THE BURIAL GROUND IN SHOCKOE BOTTOM - First of a series of public forums to discuss how to memorialize the "Burial Ground for Negroes" - 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the Richmond Public Library, downown main branch, 101 W. Franklin Street (23220). Hosted by the Richmond's Slave Trail Commission. Contact Sam Patterson, 644-3012 or

Saturday, Sep. 27 - EASTON PA - Unveiling of "Transcendance" - A 16-foot, 4-ton welded stainless steel sculpture by internationally renowned artist Melvin Edwards to commemorate Lafayette University's awarding of an academic degree to an enslaved man, David K. McDonogh, in 1844. “McDonogh was sent to Lafayette by his master, a Louisiana rice planter, so he could receive training to join a group of missionaries to Liberia,” he said. '“But McDonogh had other goals. He wanted to become a physician and, in the face of tremendous opposition, he prevailed, [attending classes] at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York and becoming, for the remainder of his career, a member of the staff of the New York Hospital and New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.” Five years after McDonogh’s death in 1893, the McDonogh Memorial Hospital opened its doors as the first New York City hospital admitting both physicians and patients without discrimination by race.' 


> Thursday, Oct. 9 - Saturday, Oct. 11 - NEW YORK — SLAVE ROUTES: RESISTANCE, ABOLITION & CREATIVE PROGRESS — hosted by New York University’s Institute of African American Affairs at NYU’s Kimmel Center for University Life. The global symposium, held 200 years after passage of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Act made transporting or importing slaves in the United States or its territories illegal, will examine slavery, the slave trade, and its consequences today. Defender Ana Edwards will be presenting in the opening panel session "Resistance & Abolition" bringing the story of Gabriel and the Reclamation of Richmond's African Burial Ground to an international audience. Details:


> Friday, Oct. 10 - RICHMOND - 5th Annual Commemoration of the Life and Rebellion of Gabriel and Richmond's "Burial Ground for Neroes" - Asbury United Methodist Church, 324 N. 29th Street, 23223. Show honor and respect to Gabriel, Richmond’s own freedom fighter, executed on this day in 1800 by the state of Virginia for the crime of rising up against oppression. Presented by the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project of the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality. Information: Call (804) 644-5834 or e-mail:


> Sunday, May 4: "New York African Burial Ground: From National Secret to Nationa Monument" - For The People presents Dr. Michael L. Blakey, physical anthropologist, scientific director of the New York African Burial Ground and Institute for Historical Biology at the College of William & Mary, speaking on this landmark project. 1214 W. Graham St. (across from VUU campus) at 3:00 pm. Tickets: $12 in advance, $17 at the door, $8 students & elders. For more info call (804) 354-0974. Refreshments will be served.

> October 10, 2007: 5th Annual Commemoration of Gabriel & Richmond's Oldest Municipal Burial Ground for People of African Origin or Descent - Featuring King Salim Khalfani, Executive Director of the Virginia State Conference NAACP addressing Governor Kaine's pardon of Gabriel, and special guest Saladin Muhammad of Black Workers for Justice and UE 150 in Raleigh NC.

> February 6, 2007: "Re-Membering Legacies, Building Futures: African-American History and Higher Education" - In the North Court Reception Room - Led by expert presenters on the history of race at the University of Richmond and the City of Richmond, this community discussion asks us to consider the role of history as we confront the challenges of the present.  All members of the University and Richmond community are invited to join in this discussion.  By examining together the history of our own "house" and our own "backyard," we hope to unearth some clues about pursuing justice, community, inclusion, and reconciliation as we look forward.  Richmond Defender Ana Edwards is one of the presenters.

> October 10, 2006: Sacred Ground/Gabriel Remembered - Commemoration and Education - 7-9pm - Centenary UMC downtown. Program to feature special guests and presentations on endangered burial grounds and cemeteries from around the region.

> Little Ark Baptist Church Cemetery, Newport RI 18th century cemetery, Richmond's Burial Ground for Negroes, Danville Free Black cemetery, South Boston honors its ancestors, North Carolinians trying to save a burial ground...Learn More at the Oct. 10 Sacred Ground/Gabriel Commemoration.

> Stadium project apparently off the table/ Sacred Ground to present alternate plan to Mayor's committee in January

> Article uncovers problematic process of mayor's Shockoe Bottom Development committee in November issue

> Alternative Plan presented at 2nd Annual Defenders Annual Fighting Fund & Awards Dinner

> October 10 Mayor's Shockoe Bottom Development committee meeting canceled at last minute!

> Sacred Ground Symposium / Poetry Slam & Music Fest Weekend: October 8 & 9, 2005


Visit the historical marker honoring the life and struggle of Gabriel, slave rebellion leader, located on the sidewalk overlooking the endangered "Burial Ground for Negroes" at 1554 E. Broad Street, in Richmond's Shockoe Bottom Historic District.