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Daughters of Zion Cemetery Rededication

The Preservers of the Daughters of Zion Cemetery May 29, 2016 Rededication event was moved inside to CitySpace on the Downtown Mall in light of an uncertain weather forecast. A standing-room-only crowd was treated to a lively tribute which included inspirational songs, poetry, remarks by Justin Sarafin of Preservation Virginia, Pete Armetta of the Ridge Street Neighborhood Association, and the reading of a Proclamation by Mayor Mike Signer.

After a brief reception and the return of the sun, the group which included descendants who travelled from far and wide gathered at the cemetery where an historic marker sponsored by the City of Charlottesville’s Historic Resources Committee was unveiled and details of the Preservers’ restoration and preservation plans for the cemetery were shared by Monument Conservator Shelley Sass and Landscape Architect Liz Sargent.

The Daughters of Zion Cemetery was established in 1873 by an African American women’s benevolent society who sought to provide a dignified place of burial for African Americans in segregated Charlottesville. The cemetery is listed on the National and State Historic Registers and was designated as a 2016 Virginia’s Most Endangered Historic Places by Preservation Virginia.