East End Cemetery Collaboratory Courses

In 2017, faculty from UR and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), along with members of the Friends of East End, formed the East End Cemetery Collaboratory which centered around East End Cemetery, an historic African American burial ground in Henrico County and the City of Richmond.

The Collaboratory has since expanded its focus to other African American cemeteries in our region and aims to produce place-based knowledge that contributes to a community dialogue about our collective past.

Partner Programs and Organizations

The Friends of East End is an all-volunteer nonprofit working to restore East End Cemetery and document the history of the community it served. 

Oakwood Arts, a Church Hill nonprofit, makes art and careers in creative industries accessible to all through community engagement, inspiring programming, and experiential education.

The Digital Scholarship Lab develops innovative digital humanities projects that contribute to research and teaching at and beyond the University of Richmond.

The Spatial Analysis Laboratory (SAL) is the Department of Geography and the Environment's lab for GIS, spatial analysis, and remote sensing courses, where students learn the underlying principles of spatial analysis and technology.



Elizabeth Baughan
Kristine Grayson

Affiliated Faculty

Nanette Bailey, Erin Hollaway, Ywone Edwards-Ingram, Jeannine Keefer, Melissa Ooten, Brian Palmer, Ryan Smith, Stephanie Spera, Mike Rackett, John Shuck, Jolene SmithBeth Zizzamia

Programmatic Support 

Terry Dolson
Derek Miller


University of Richmond

  • Biology 202: Integrated Biological Principles II
  • Biology 336: Eco-epidemiology
  • Classics 220: Introduction to Archaeology
  • Dance 319: Collaborative Arts Lab: Dance, Humanities, and Technology
  • First-Year Seminar: Death and Commemoration in Antiquity
  • First-Year Seminar: Representing Civil Rights in Richmond
  • First-Year Seminar: Why Do We Build?
  • Religion 358/American Studies 381: Richmond: City of the Dead


  • History 201: The Art of Historical Detection
  • History 490: Richmond Cemeteries
  • History 653: American Material Culture
  • Sociology 391: Aging and the Life Course
  • Sociology 445: Medical Sociology
  • University College 112: Focused Inquiry


Years in the making, the Collaboratory's online map of East End Cemetery pinpoints the locations of grave markers using GIS technology and drone imagery. The map is updated as new markers are uncovered.

East End Cemetery RVA, a website created by Brian Palmer, Erin Hollaway Palmer, and Jolene Smith, features photographs made at East End, as well as archival images from public-domain sources and from relatives of the deceased; primary documents about the cemetery and the people buried there; and narratives created from these materials. The site is also designed to accept content from user photos, documents, stories.

The Friends of East End and other cemetery volunteers post photographs of grave markers found at East End on Find A Grave. Using death certificates and obituaries, they also create memorials for people whose markers have not yet been found. It is estimated that upwards of 15,000 people are buried at East End. As of spring 2020, more than 3,600 burials have been documented on Find A Grave.

Collaboratory Sponsors

Bonner Center for Civic Engagement

VCU Center for Community Engagement and Impact

Creativity-Innovation-Entrepreneurship (CIE)

Friends of East End

Special thanks to Alexandra Byrum, Taylor Holden, Rob Nelson, and Beth Zizzamia.


Header image by Brian Palmer