Burying Ground

The University of Richmond is working toward a permanent memorial to honor those enslaved and laid to rest on the land that became this campus.

University-sponsored research published in 2019, “Knowledge of This Cannot Be Hidden": A Report on the Westham Burying Ground by Shelby M. Driskill and Dr. Lauranett L. Lee, revealed that a site on the southeastern side of Westhampton Lake was once a burying ground for those enslaved by former landowners and that remains were discovered and desecrated by the University multiple times in the early to mid-twentieth century.

A Burying Ground Memorialization Committee was formed and charged with identifying appropriate means to memorialize the burying ground and enslaved people who lived and labored on this land prior to the University’s arrival. Based on that work, the Committee forwarded a final report with design principles that reflect lessons learned through meeting with and listening to the descendant community and campus stakeholders. 

Since the Burying Ground Memorialization Committee completed its work in December of 2021, the University retained Burt Pinnock from Baskervill architects to develop, evolve, and finalize a design with input from descendants and the campus community. Construction on the site is slated to begin in February 2024 and commence for 12-14 months. Please check back for regular updates.