New Digital Map Expands Access to One of Virginia's Historic African American Cemeteries

May 28, 2020

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — An interactive map of East End Cemetery, a historic African American burial ground in Henrico County, Virginia, is now available online. The map is the first digital initiative of the East End Cemetery Collaboratory, a learning community composed of faculty and staff from the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University and members of the Friends of East End Cemetery.

The searchable map, which also works on phones and tablets, now makes it possible to pinpoint the exact position of grave markers at the once overgrown cemetery

Built by University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, Department of Geography and the Environment, and Spatial Analysis Lab, the map features drone-captured imagery and GPS data points collected by hundreds of students and volunteers organized by the Friends of East End.

The ongoing data collection process for the map has been guided by UR’s Kristine Grayson, associate professor of biology, and Elizabeth Baughan, associate professor of classics and archaeology, as well as John Shuck and Erin Hollaway Palmer of the Friends of East End.

“Since 2013, volunteers have worked to restore this historic 16-acre burial ground that had been nearly swallowed up by dense vegetation,” said Grayson. “More than 3,200 grave markers have been uncovered and documented, but until now, there hasn’t been an easy way to locate specific graves at the cemetery.”

The Collaboratory is also developing a comprehensive digital archive of the cemetery, which contains thousands of records for people interred at East End, as well as gravestone analyses, photographs, newspaper articles, and other documents. A beta release is expected by the end of June, with a full release by the start of the 2020–21 academic year.

“Both the map and the digital archive mark major steps forward in the documentation of East End Cemetery and the reclamation of its rich history, a vital chapter in the larger story of Richmond and the Commonwealth,” said Hollaway Palmer.

To learn more about the new map and the work of the East End Collaboratory visit


Photo Credit: Brian Palmer /