Have you ever noticed The Wisdom Tree, a tall, beautiful Cedar of Lebanon standing between Hectricrew and Lee’s Donuts in the Richmond Shopping Center? It is an amazing tree that has a wonderful and vibrant past, deeply rooted in our City’s oral history traditions and Downtown’s role as a place for gathering and building community. The tree was planted as part of a (WWI) Veterans Memorial Park, which has since changed in shape and form to accommodate the construction of the shopping center and housing. For decades this tree served as a meeting place for Latino and African American men who gathered at different times of the day to swap stories, boasts, and knowledge. When redevelopment projects came along, the owner of the site insisted that the tree be kept intact. This act of historic preservation speaks volumes to the importance of The Wisdom Tree to generations of Black men in Richmond who claimed it as their own outdoor parlor.

Want more Richmond Black History? Check out past editions & our sources.

Want to contribute? Share your histories with us!

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