Evergreen Cemetery looking to partner with HBCUs to maintain grave sites

By John Hood | Published: Mar. 19, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – As work continues to restore and preserve the thousands of African American graves at Evergreen Cemetery, caretakers are looking to interest HBCU fraternities and sororities in maintaining gravesites.

While volunteers from those organizations have committed their time to this cause in the past, the cemetery is looking to keep groups committed to preventing sites from falling into disrepair again.

The Divine Nine Initiative program will start later this year, but one organization is already stepping up.

“Whether it be physical or spiritual we have an obligation to take care of my brother. Are we my brother’s keepers? Yes, we are,” Tyler Parker, with Alpha Phi Alpha, said.

Alpha Phi Alpha is the oldest African American fraternity in the country with deep roots in Richmond.

“Eugene Kinckle Jones was born here in Richmond and is what we call a jewel of our fraternity and one of our founders,” Parker said.

Members of Alpha Phi Alpha were pulling out roots around the final resting place of Jones’s family. His parents were both Richmond educators.

Jones himself later left the city to become a leader of the National Urban League to fight social injustices.