New Digital Archive Provides Insight into One of Virginia's Historic African American Cemeteries

October 23, 2020

Image Caption: This image was taken by University of Richmond Visiting Assistant Professor of Journalism Brian Palmer. 

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — A new digital archive of East End Cemetery, a historic African American burial ground in Henrico County, Virginia, is now available online.

The East End Cemetery Archive is the product of years of data, image, and document collection by 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 archive contains a wide range of documentation related to the cemetery, including records such as marriage and death certificates, newspaper articles, family photographs, gravestone descriptions, and more.

“The archive serves as a stand-in and supplement to information and content that could be found in cemetery records, which, to date, are not known to exist,” says UR Visual Resources Librarian Jeannine Keefer, who guided the development of the archive. “This is a living, far from complete, archive that will continue to grow as additional research is conducted and more materials are collected.”

Archive users can perform a keyword search and sort by last name, year of birth, and year of death. They can then filter by decade, location, employer, fraternal or beneficial organization, church affiliation, military service, and funeral home. Search results can be saved and shared by email or on social media.

“In the years we’ve been working at East End, we’ve stashed away tons of documents and articles but had no way to share many of them with a wide audience,” says Erin Hollaway Palmer, a member of the Collaboratory and the Friends of East End. “Now anyone who’s interested in the cemetery and the community at rest there can find out more, all in one place.”

The archive works in tandem with an interactive map of the cemetery developed by the Collaboratory and UR’s Digital Scholarship Lab, and to eastendcemeteryrva.com, a website that features historical context and the stories of those interred at East End.  

The data collection process for the archive, which is ongoing, is guided by Keefer, Hollaway Palmer, UR classics professor Elizabeth Baughan, and UR biology professor Kristine Grayson. 

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Media interested in covering this East End Collaboratory Archive should contact Media Relations Specialist Lindsey Grow at lcampbe4@richmond.edu