Last week, a team of national experts organized by the Rose Center for Public Leadership gathered in Richmond to tour Shockoe Valley and brainstorm solutions to bring about Richmond Mayor Stoney’s vision for both equitable economic development and memorialization of the area’s past as the nation’s second-largest slave trading center. Mayor Stoney was one of four U.S. mayors to be selected for this year-long partnership. The National Trust’s Graham Gund architect, Ashley Wilson was invited to participate on the panel, joining a host of professionals from the planning, civil engineering, and commercial real estate development fields.
The Rose Center group shared their initial recommendations and laid out next steps at a press event on Thursday, February 8. The National Trust for Historic Preservation released a statement reaffirming its position on the key elements of any development in Shockoe Bottom. Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Michael Paul Williams wrote a thoughtful piece, echoing the panel’s insistence on investigating, understanding, and telling the truth of the full, and yes painful, history that transpired on this sacred ground in order to bring about true healing and reconciliation.
The full presentation may be viewed on YouTube.
The National Trust will remain engaged and active on the work to properly commemorate and activate this site of conscience and will keep the public informed of opportunities to join the conversation and help shape Shockoe Bottom’s future.