The University of Richmond has installed signage on campus to mark the sacred space of a former burial ground for enslaved persons and describe what is known about the desecration that occurred there. The signage also details the University’s plans to more permanently acknowledge the site going forward.
The University plans to memorialize the enslaved burial ground on what is now part of the campus and the history of the land on which the University now sits, including its intersections with enslavement.
An informative sign with a QR code links to a research report by Lauranett Lee, a public historian and UR professor leading the historical research, and Shelby Driskill, a UR graduate researcher, who have explored the reported enslaved burial ground on campus. Their research has been studied in numerous classes and discussed in various open forums across campus, including as part of first-year orientation.
In January, University of Richmond President Ronald A. Crutcher established a Burial Ground Memorialization Committee to engage a range of stakeholders in discussions. “Our story is often inspirational, but there are aspects of the past we have long ignored, including the significant history of the land on which our campus now stands,” Crutcher said.
The signage signals the burial ground’s important history,” said Crutcher. “The signage is only temporary, though, as the work of the committee will lead to the shaping of a permanent memorial.”
The committee chaired by Ed Ayers, Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and President Emeritus, and Keith “Mac” McIntosh, vice president of Information Services and CIO, has held virtual meetings over several weeks to learn about the hopes of the university community for the memorialization of the Burial Ground. Burt Pinnock, a Richmond architect will help guide the efforts.
The committee is also consulting with descendants of individuals enslaved on the land to solicit their thoughts about the most appropriate memorialization.
“The signage is an important milestone on our journey,” McIntosh said. “The full and accurate history of the land we currently occupy helps us understand the people who came before us and helps us understand how we might best connect our present with our past and future.”
“We can’t connect our present to our past without a comprehensive and truthful view of our rich history,” he added.
Anyone with stories, questions, or information to share, is asked to write the committee at [email protected].
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Union Presbyterian Seminary demolishes one of Northside’s oldest houses, dating to 1790s
The 230-year-old McGuire Cottage, one of Northside’s oldest homes, is no longer standing due to what its owner, Union Presbyterian Seminary, claims is “repentance” for the benefit the seminary received from the labor of enslaved persons.
The 230-year-old McGuire Cottage, one of Northside’s oldest homes, is no longer standing due to what its owner, Union Presbyterian Seminary, claims is “repentance” for the benefit the seminary received from the labor of enslaved persons. The house was once home to a Confederate surgeon – also cited as a reason for demolition – though the seminary says it has no plans for the tract of land on which the house stood.
Critics say the home had a great historic significance and calls to preserve the home by moving it were met with complaints that using staff resources to research grants for such a move would be “prohibitive.” Several publications say the demolition will also pave the way for additional development on the property.
While recognition of the wrongs of our nation is warranted, one wonders if half of Richmond wouldn’t be flattened by the seminary’s logic of demolishing structures tied to those who were on the wrong side of history.
From Richmond BizSense:
One of the oldest homes in Northside is no more.
The 1800s-era Westwood house, also known as McGuire Cottage, was demolished this week at the behest of Union Presbyterian Seminary.
It owns the so-called Westwood Tract where the structure had stood for two centuries — dwarfed in recent years by the newly built Canopy at Ginter Park apartments.
Seminary spokesman Mike Frontiero said its board of trustees voted last year to demolish the structure, originally the home of Confederate surgeon Hunter Holmes McGuire, “as recognition of and in repentance for the resourcing provided to the seminary through the labor of enslaved persons.”
Valentine and Community Foundation announce 2021 Richmond History Makers
The 16th Annual Richmond History Makers and Community Update on March 9 will celebrate these hometown heroes and provide an update on the region’s resiliency during a challenging year.
Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam announced the six honorees in the 2021 class of Richmond History Makers yesterday morning during a Facebook Live event.
The 16th Annual Richmond History Makers and Community Update on March 9 will celebrate these hometown heroes and provide an update on the region’s resiliency during a challenging year. The event will take place virtually and will be free, with the Valentine and the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond joining forces to recognize and celebrate these trailblazers. Long-time Richmond History Makers partner Dominion Energy is returning as the title sponsor.
According to six categories, the 2021 Richmond History Makers are:
Creating Quality Educational Opportunities:
Virginia STEM Coordinator
Demonstrating Innovative Economic Solutions:
Floyd E. Miller II
President & CEO
Metropolitan Business League
Improving Regional Transportation:
Lloyd “Bud” Vye
Biking and pedestrian advocate
Championing Social Justice:
Advocacy and Engagement Manager
Voices for Virginia’s Children
Promoting Community Health:
Advancing our Quality of Life:
Muralist and community advocate
“The life-changing work that we have seen take place across the Richmond Region this year is unlike any other,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “These individuals and organizations stepped up in the face of so many challenging circumstances, and they deserve an evening to be celebrated in front of their community!”
The Community Foundation for a greater Richmond is also returning as one of this event’s co-sponsors.
“Throughout 2020 and into 2021, we have certainly seen so many people rise to the occasion and address some of the most pressing needs of the Richmond Region,” said Community Foundation Chief Community Engagement Officer Scott Blackwell. “These honorees have really helped get Richmond through a difficult time, and their work is not always recognized or celebrated. We’re thrilled to highlight their contributions and share good news.”
Leadership Metro Richmond, a long-time partner in this program, helped to oversee the virtual Selection Committee, which narrowed down the six honorees from more than 135 nominations.
“With so many nominations, it’s clear the community was ready to recognize those going above and beyond to make a difference, especially during such difficult times,” said LMR President & CEO Myra Goodman Smith. “This year’s honorees deserve to be celebrated, and we look forward to lending our voice to the virtual crowd in March.”
You can register for a free ticket and learn more here.