Families have trouble finding grave sites at cemetery

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) – For two days, one Richmond woman traversed the dense woods at Evergreen Cemetery. Martha Conyers spent Memorial Day searching for her mother’s grave site. A similar search on Mother Day’s was unsuccessful.

“It’s just trifling,” Conyers said. “We come out here to find our mom and we can’t even find her.”

Conyers was not alone on Memorial Day.  A steady flow of people rolled into Evergreen for what quickly turned into a scavenger hunt.  One Richmond man spent hours searching for his sister’s grave site.

Evergreen Cemetery is the final resting place for an estimated 5,000 African Americans, including prominent Richmonder Maggie L. Walker, the first woman to charter a bank.  Despite its historical significance, Richmonders continue to question the cemetery’s state of disrepair.

“Did the person who is supposed to do this…did they die? Are they gone?” asked one woman.

On Memorial Day, veterans’ grave markers are hidden, trees are toppled over and spider webs coat some construction equipment. 

Volunteer coordinator for Evergreen, John Shuck, told CBS 6, they’ve managed to clear only three of the cemetery’s 60 acres over the last four years. He said more manpower is needed.

However, Shuck said the cemetery is not responsible for primary cleanup. 

“Unless they paid for perpetual care, it was up to the family to maintain the plot,” he said.

As for Conyers,  after hours of searching, she finally found her mom and cleared out the area surrounding her grave.

“We shouldn’t have to go through all this. You should be able to rest in peace,” Conyers said.

Shuck encouraged anyone who had trouble finding their relative’s grave site, to visit findagrave.com

See other stories on Evergreen Cemetery below.

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