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About

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Sacred Grounds Project

In 1884, seven African-American veterans and businessmen of Suffolk, Virginia,  purchased a plot of land for a cemetery for the local African-American community.

 

The Sacred Grounds Project, Inc., an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, assists community initiatives to document, protect, and preserve historic African American burial grounds and cemeteries and their rich history through conservation, advocacy, and educational initiatives.

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Interment Database0%
Community Outreach0%

In 2019, Nadia K. Orton, then existing Secretary and Historian of the Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation, gained Virginia state funding (HB 2311) and a historical highway marker for Oak Lawn Cemetery.

We believe preservation efforts for Oak Lawn Cemetery should include the following: (1) general and continuous maintenance (inclusive of all issues that may lead to further deterioration of the graves of Oak Lawn, and may constitute dangerous conditions for descendants and visitors), removal of dead and fallen trees, poisonous plants, and treat open holes and depressions; (2) regular outreach to descendant communities and the general public, through publicly advertised meetings and other communications, as originally developed for the cemetery in 2011, and (3) open and respectful support for all cemetery volunteers, and their cumulative work on Oak Lawn Cemetery. Our record on these subjects is clear and thoroughly documented, and we remain committed to these goals.

Oak Lawn Cemetery (est. 1885) is located within Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District

Mission

  • o1 - RESEARCH

    Uncover the lost narratives of early African American citizens of Suffolk (Nansemond County), Virginia

  • 02 DOCUMENTATION

    Document lost interments and stories of Suffolk's African American community.

  • 03 DESCENDANTS

    Assist descendants and families connected to Oak Lawn in search of their ancestors.

  • 04 DATABASE

    Creation of official interment database and map of Oak Lawn Cemetery.

  • 05 PRESERVATION

    Repair damaged graves, and continue advocacy of Oak Lawn Cemetery, through community outreach and educational initiatives.

Affiliations