Shockoe Bottom in downtown Richmond was once the epicenter of the U.S. domestic slave trade. Its network of auction houses, prisons, workshops, and a burial ground made up the largest slave market after New Orleans.
Today, Shockoe Bottom is a patchwork of mostly vacant lots and surface parking. Plans to redevelop the district have been controversial—most recently, public and political opposition fought off the mayor’s proposal to construct a baseball stadium in the heart of the Bottom. This proposal has since been replaced by the mayor’s plan for a museum atop the Devil’s Half-Acre/Lumpkin’s Jail site, a small sliver of the historically significant land in Shockoe Bottom.
These projects are not appropriate to convey the magnitude of human suffering that occurred here, nor do they maximize the opportunity for healing, understanding and economic development.
A plan for a memorial park seeks to balance reflection and remembrance with equitable economic development. The result of a community process led by the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project, the concept has recently been refined by UMass Amherst professors Max Page and Joseph Krupczynski with the Center for Design Engagement (CDE). which was broadly supported during a public presentation in June, 2016.
The CDE design proposal is now available for public review and input. Key graphics are captured in the slideshow below, and the full design proposal is available for download.
Please complete the form below to provide comments to the plan’s authors.
Thank you for helping us shape the future of Shockoe Bottom, a true National Treasure.