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Richmond's Evergreen Cemetery Receives UNESCO Designation

Richmond’s Evergreen Cemetery is being recognized for its historic significance to the African American diaspora.

The cemetery has been designated by UNESCO as “a site of memory” to help protect its history. For decades, the Historic Evergreen Cemetery sat overgrown and neglected in Richmond’s East End. It was the final resting place for prominent African Americans in the late 1800s including Maggie L. Walker.

Viola Baskerville, the spokesperson for Evergreen Cemetery’s planning and review team, said the UNESCO award is a recognition of the restoration and historical research undertaken by hundreds of volunteers in recent years.

“It also to announces to the world what we in Richmond already knew: that these 10,000+ souls who are already resting here are critically important the story of America,” she said.

UNESCO’s Slave Route Project was launched in 1994 and recognizes sites highlighting the history and impact of the international slave trade.

Ali Moussa Iye, Director of the Slave Route Project, said on Monday that Evergreen Cemetery “has great potential to encourage reflection on their many contributions to Virginia and United States history.”