Posts Tagged ‘richmond sacred ground’

A reminder that although VCU has finally closed the parking lot on the Richmond African Burial Ground, 4 people still have court this Wednesday over their act of civil disobedience protesting the use of the Burial Ground as a parking lot.  Please come out this Wednesday to support them! Details below.

From the Richmond Defenders:

As the subject header suggests, the battle to reclaim the Richmond African Burial Ground is finally over!  You may recall at the last COC meeting, five individuals volunteered to become members of the Coordinating Committee (CC).  The CC members are:  Autumn Barrett, David Boothe, Donnell Brantley, Rolandah “Cleopattrah” McMillan, and Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor.  The charge of the CC is to keep you informed and we will endeavor to do just that.

While we can relish this victory, we must still remain ever vigilant until this Sacred Ground is properly memorialized.  Below is the statement released by the Defenders on behalf of the COC, and important dates for you to remember.  We would also like to thank you, the community, for taking a stand and helping to bring this reclamation to fruition.

We look forward ever, backward NEVER!

Janet B. Taylor
Coordinating Committee
Celebrate the Reclamation of the Burial Ground/Support the Four Advocates
The VCU parking lot which for years desecrated the Richmond African Burial Ground was finally closed, Saturday, May 21 and is scheduled to be removed starting, Tuesday, May 24.  The African Burial Ground, formerly the Burial Ground for Negroes, is the city’s oldest known municipal cemetery for enslaved Africans and free people of African descent.

After years of community agitation, the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year passed a bill authorizing the transfer of the 3.4 acre site from VCU to the City of Richmond.  The City has placed a marker on the site explaining its historical and cultural significance as well as detailing Richmond’s leading role in the internal U.S. slave trade.

Part of the activism that eventually led to the closing of the parking lot occurred, Tuesday, April 12, the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.  Eight community activists were successful in closing down the parking lot for an hour and a half.  Four of the eight -Donnell Brantley, Rolandah “Cleopattrah” McMillan, Autumn Barrett and Phil Wilayto – were subsequently arrested and charged with trespassing.  They are being represented pro bono by the law firm of Benjamin & DesPortes, a leading criminal defense firm.  As McMillan explained, “We decided to close the parking lot ourselves…We wanted the whole world to see that this state institution has no respect for the community that surrounds it.”

For more information, please contact Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor, 804-347-3598 or OneRastaQueen@hotmail.com.

IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER:

Monday, May 23, 6 pm
Public Hearing, Richmond City Council Chambers, 2nd floor/City Hall, 900 W. Broad St. The City will vote to accept the land transfer from VCU.

Tuesday, May 24, 10:30 am
Groundbreaking Ceremony, Richmond African Burial Ground, 15th & Broad streets.

Wednesday, May 25, 9 am
Support vigil outside the Manchester Courthouse, 920 Hull Street, followed by the 10 am trial of the four African Burial Ground advocates who shut down the VCU parking lot, April 12.  Please wear a white shirt or blouse as a show of solidarity.

Sunday, June 5, 4-6 pm
Community Organizing Committee meeting, location TBA. (Note:  Meetings are always the first Sunday of the month, 4-6pm; you will be notified of the location.)

——————————————- Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality A group of Richmond area residents working to improving the lives of people in our community. Phone & Fax 804.644.5834 . PO Box 23202, Richmond VA 23223 . DefendersFJE@hotmail.com