From a flyer being left on cars in the VCU parking lot. For more info, check out the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project. From the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project, a timeline of Burial Ground Reclamation Activities: TIMELINE of Burial Ground Reclamation Activities From 1992 to the present many individuals and organizations have worked to ensure that the […]
From the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project, a timeline of Burial Ground Reclamation Activities:
TIMELINE of Burial Ground Reclamation Activities
From 1992 to the present many individuals and organizations have worked to ensure that the story of Gabriel’s Rebellion and the existance of what may be Richmond’s oldest municipal burial ground for African-Americans and the poor is remembered, understood and honored. Join the Work to Ensure an Open Process for Determining the Proper Reclamation of Richmond’s African-American Burial Ground
1992: Elizabeth Cann Kambourian, local author and Richmond historian, does the definitive research to confirm the existence and location of the “Burial Ground for Negroes” north of the 1500 block of E. Broad Street in Shockoe Bottom historic district.
1996: Slave Trail Commission established by the City of Richmond with Sa’ad El-Amin, then 6th District Councilman, as chair
2001: The first annual Torch-Lit Night Walk of the Slave Trail, in conjunction with the Juneteenth Celebration, was co-sponsored by the city of Richmond’s Slave Trail Commission and the Elegba Folklore Society
2002: The night walk was extended to include the site of the Burial Ground.
2004: October 10th dedication of the historical highway marker to honor the life of rebellion leader Gabriel and his fellow martyrs to the cause of freedom from bondage, and the affirmation of the location fo the Burial Ground. The dedication ceremony was preceded by a symposium and panel discussion that featured Elvatrice Parker Belsches (author/historian), Elizabeth Kambourian (author/historian), Dr. Haskell Bingham (descendant), Dr. Michael Blakey (director of research for NY African Burial Ground), Douglas Egerton (author of Gabriel’s Rebellion and the Slave Insurrections of 1800 and 1802). In December the Defenders formed the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project to focus on reclamation of the burial ground site.
2005-2006: Successfully engaged in struggle to prevent the attempt by the Braves baseball team owner and developer to construct a sports/entertainment complex with luxury retail/condominium properties in the heart of Shockoe Bottom, a project that would have destroyed existing local businesses and wiped out the historic character, remains and potential for development as an intact magnet for heritage tourism.
2006: Publicized VCU strategic plan to re-pave the parking lot and called for meetings with President Trani to discuss alternate strategies.
2007: State NAACP successfully petitions Governor Timothy L. Kaine to unofficially pardon Gabriel’s conviction and declare him a freedom fighter. October 10 is 5th anniversary of annual commemorations to honor Gabriel and the ancestors buried in Shockoe Bottom.
June 2: –as the result of the accidental meeting between two interested young artist/activists and a group of self-described employees of the VCU planning department– a small demonstration was held at the site of the Gabriel historic marker on E. Broad St. (between 15th & 16 th streest) overlooking the the site of the Burial Ground. The media took note of this and announced VCU’s plans including a statement from their PR office that VCU had never been notified of the community’s concerns about the site. The Sacred Ground Project, in collaboration with a local merchant, Dawoud Shakoor of Shakoor’s Merchandise and the two activists who caleld the demonstration, Shanna Merola and Kenneth Yates, called for a 29-day vigil at noon each day to bring public attention to the site’s location and the imminent threat to its existance.
June 3: A ceremony was held to dedicate Phase II of the Archaeological exploration of the Lumpkin’s Jail site just south of Broad Street from the Burial Ground site. One by one the officials present declared their solidarity with the protest against VCU for its attempt to REPAVE the parking lot that already makes a clear statement of indifference and disrespect to the history of the people whose ancestors lie there, and several of them pledged to meet with VCU President Eugene Trani to communicate their displeasure and encourage him to re-examine the university’s plans.
June 5: The city’s Slave Trail Commission meeting reported that Councilwoman Rev. Delores McQuinn, Councilman William J. Pantele, and Delegate Rev. Dwight Jones met on June 4th with VCU officials and Dept. of Historic Resources executive director Kathleen Kilpatrick. VCU officials stated they had not known about the historic nature of the site and agreed to halt the “improvements” to the parking lot until the situation was brought to resolution. The first stage of the process was for the DHR and VCU to review the research supporting the existance, location and scope of the burial ground site.
July 10: The city’s Slave Trail Commission reported that VCU and DHR had completed their review of the research and would meet with STC, Rev. Jones, Councilman Pantele to present their opinions. (As of July 25, no report from this meeting has been made public.) Rev. McQuinn also presented a tentative schedule for the archaeological work being done at the Lumpkins Jail site.
July 14 – 18: From Lumpkins Jail site, samples taken through soil borings are marked by two 6” diameter white PVC tubes are visible.