The Westham Project The Collegian | The University of Richmond's Independent news source

Documentary evidence suggests that a burial ground of enslaved people exists on the land the University of Richmond’s campus now occupies, which was a plantation prior to 1865. The presence of the burial ground, known as the Westham burial ground, has implications about UR’s past and present that require care and attention from our campus community.

By engaging the UR community in conversations on the human bondage that built the land our campus occupies, The Collegian will help the campus interrogate the ways that institutional racism affects Black students, faculty, staff and community members since UR's founding in 1830 through today.

The footprint of UR is riddled with a past that embodies the history of not only the state, but the nation. The landed control of the area is marked by significant transfers including a history of plantation ownership.

Paths to the Burying Ground: Enslavement, Erasure, and Memory on the Campus of the University of Richmond: Shelby M. Driskill (research, writing, and site development), Douglas Broome (GIS images); developed between September 2018 and December 2019 as part of SPCS coursework and independent research


The Collegian will complete The Westham Project, a report on the Westham burial ground, as a part of the Poynter Institute’s College Media Project. The report will be ongoing, and will evolve as The Collegian evolves as a newspaper committed to representing every member of our campus.
Reporting done by Morgan Howland, Olivia Diaz, Emma Davis, Jackie Llanos Hernandez, Will Roberts, Susanna Getis and Maeve McCormick. Contributions by Mysia Perry and Jordyn Lofton. Photos by Ben Wasserstein. Project Advisers: Joe Williams, Brian Palmer and Wonbo Woo.