African American cemetery to be dedicated

Published 11:03 am Thursday, April 22, 2021

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Patrick Henry’s Red Hill and members of the local African American community will dedicate the Quarter Place Enslaved and African American Cemetery Saturday, June 5, at Patrick Henry’s Red Hill, in Brookneal.

The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. and will include the dedication of the cemetery followed by Kuumba dancing, local African drumming, children’s activities, and more. In accordance with state regulations, social distancing guidelines will be followed and attendees will be asked to wear masks.

Over the past several years, research and archaeology efforts have been expanded at Red Hill to learn more about the enslaved population. Recently, using Charlotte County and Virginia death records as well as Patrick’s 1799 and 1802 inventory, staff at Red Hill have been able to identify 40 of the 147 individuals buried at the Quarter Place Cemetery.

Red Hill and members of the local African American community have been planning a ceremony to dedicate the cemetery and honor some of their ancestors for the past several months. Members of the Community Engagement Committee (CEC) have been able to trace their ancestry back to individuals that were enslaved at Red Hill.

“The ceremony has great historical and personal significance for the African American descendant community,” Gloria Braxton, a descendant of the Red Hill enslaved population and a member of the CEC, said. “It will be a day of solemn remembrance and a day of celebration for new opportunities at Patrick Henry’s Red Hill. There will be new opportunities for the generations to discover the past, connect with the present; and anticipate a future with hope and a new vision for America.”

In partnering with members of the local African American community and creating the CEC, Red Hill hopes to expand their interpretive focus to be able to tell a more complete story of what took place at Red Hill.

This event is free, but reserving a ticket is recommended ( The ceremony is made possible by grants from Jessie Ball duPont Fund, E. Stuart James Grant Charitable Trust, and Virginia Humanities.

Red Hill is the last home and burial site of Patrick Henry – Virginia’s first elected governor, founding father, and American patriot. For the past 75 years, Patrick Henry’s Red Hill has worked to keep the spirit of the Voice of the American Revolution alive. Red Hill was designated as the Patrick Henry National Memorial in 1986. Its mission is to inspire a better understanding of Colonial American history through its educational programs, scholarships to young adults, and the preservation and restoration of its 1,000 acres.