Second African Burial Ground

The Second African Burial Ground lies under the lot seen here above the 4-lanes of Fifth Street. Hospital Street crosses Fifth just to the right of this image. I-64 can be seen just beyond. Talley's Auto Service building and a billboard leased from Lamarr Signs sit on top of the site labelled “Grave Yard for Free People of Color” and “For Slaves” on an 1835 map of the city of Richmond.    Photo by Ana Edwards

Richmond's Second African Burial Ground (1816-1879)

Another significant site beginning to get attention, at long last is Richmond's Second African Burial Ground at 5th & Hospital streets. It was established after the African Burial Ground in Shockoe Bottom was closed in 1816. Advocates for its recognition and memorialization have emerged and are working together.

There are some exciting developments underway that emphasize the relationship not only between the first and second African burial grounds, but also between the second African burial ground and the Medical College of Virginia's East Marshall Street Well Project, and the search for living descendants of those buried in these sites. This public history research is knitting together a geography of cemetery histories with other aspects of life for African Americans in Richmond from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that have existed too long in the shadows and disconnected from one another.

Please read this article by Ryan Smith, VCU professor of history, and author of an upcoming book on Richmond cemeteries. This post presents an excellent, concise history of the site: