Shockoe Bottom is the site of Richmond, Virginia’s oldest burial ground for free and enslaved Black people as well as Richmond's antebellum slavery market, where 350,000 women, men, and children were sold by white enslavers into bondage between 1830 and 1865.
For years, redevelopment of the neighborhood has been a focus of controversy. In 2014, the National Trust named Shockoe Bottom one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places due to the proposed construction of a baseball stadium there. That incompatible proposal was withdrawn. Since then, the local African American and descendant communities have led a public dialogue about the future of Shockoe Bottom.
Recently, the City of Richmond released its first draft of the Shockoe Bottom Small Area Plan, the City's official land-use plan for the neighborhood.
Thanks to the diligence of City officials and the strategic advocacy of a coalition of local, state, and national nonprofits—including the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund—the draft Small Area Plan does include the community-generated concept for a Memorial Park in addition to opportunities for equitable redevelopment in Shockoe.
This is a major success for historic preservation!
The National Trust and our allies thank Richmond’s Mayor Levar Stoney for incorporating the Memorial Park into the City’s land-use plan for Shockoe Bottom. We strongly encourage the City to protect the cultural resources that make Shockoe unique and irreplaceable hallowed ground.
Add your name to the letter by Friday, August 27, to endorse the Memorial Park and demonstrate that Shockoe Bottom is a nationally important historic place worthy of protection.