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How you can help volunteers who maintain African-American burial ground preserve stories of those laid to rest there

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — The Friends of East End Cemetery have spent years volunteering their time to restore the historic African-American burial ground. Now they’re asking for the community’s help to further their mission. The non-profit group is in the running to receive a $25,000 grant from State Farm® and the group already knows how it would spend the grant money.

“Over the years, [The Friends of East End Cemetery] have connected with friends and relatives of the deceased who have informally shared their loved ones’ stories,” Board Secretary Melissa Pocock said in a statement. “Now they seek to professionally record oral histories for the purpose of education and research.”

In order to receive the grant money, the group is asking the community to vote (up to 10 times a day) in State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist program. Voting started August 14 and continues through August 23.

“Black Virginians from all walks of life are buried at East End Cemetery. There are lawyers and letter carriers, ministers and midwives, bankers and barbers, teachers and tobacco stemmers — a true cross-section of African American society. Their stories, spanning slavery, the Civil War, segregation, and Civil Rights, are waiting to be discovered and shared,” Pocock’s statement continued. “There is much to learn from headstones and documents, but many details live only in the memories of descendants. With their oral history initiative, the Friends aim to capture those details in order to tell richer stories about the people buried at East End and the Richmond community.”

Vote here.

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