Thank You for Helping The Angel Statue Win 1st Place
Dear Friends of Old City Cemetery Museums & Arboretum,
We won! Thanks to your support and the support of hundreds of other friends, OCC-SMA has won first place for our angel statue from the Virginia Association of Museums competition for “Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts.” Altogether, our angel won 3,927 votes, far surpassing the 3,278 votes of 2nd place competitor museum in Alexandria, and a 3rd place competitor in Richmond.
Our friends have truly worked together with the City of Lynchburg through shared emails and texts, Facebook posts, and general friendly reminders of how much this means to our historic Old City Cemetery-Southern Memorial Association.
Our angel statue is our only artifact of grave statuary on the grounds, and it memorializes the life of little Emmett Jefferson (1907-1909), a two-year old African American boy whose grandfather was a local stone carver.
Emmett Jefferson’s grandfather, William Henry Jefferson, was born enslaved but was emancipated in 1853. Our marble angel statue was likely acquired because William Jefferson’s connection to stone carving and the modest wealth he acquired through his trade or business contacts.
Founded in 1806, Old City Cemetery is known for having among the largest number of African American graves among cemeteries in our region, and for having so many extant grave markers for African Americans over the past 214 years. We are proud of our African American heritage and pleased to have this recognition from the VAM that comes with a prize of $1,000 that will help us to fund the restoration of our angel statue.
I would like to recognize our staff Marketing & Events Planner Lucas Peed, for his work in nominating our angel statue for this award and for promoting it widely and successfully. Thank you, Lucas!
We have met with City Public Works staff and Ted Delaney to develop the most appropriate restoration plan. We are also seeking the advice of an architectural restoration expert and a gravestone monument expert. We will keep you posted as plans develop.
Thank you again for all your support!
Denise A. McDonald
Executive Director, OCC-SMA