A Welcome Addition To The Historical Landscape of Richmond

From the Virginia Daily Press: Ground was broken in Richmond yesterday for a monument near the site of a notorious slave jail. The slavery reconciliation plaza will feature a 13-foot bronze sculpture of two figures embracing. It also will have benches representing slave ships and a fountain meant to symbolize the waters crossed by Africans so long ago. It’s the last of three similar monuments placed at international locations central to the slave trade. The monument also will anchor a four-mile path of slavery-related sites running through the former capital of the Confederacy. The project is planned at a downtown Richmond corner in an area where historians believe Lumpkin’s Jail may have once stood. According to historical accounts, Robert Lumpkin bought slaves and kept them confined before selling them to plantation owners in other states.

"Whites in general have buried history out of guilt, and I think African-Americans have buried their history out of shame. The design is telling the story." — Rev. Sylvester Turner, with the Richmond Slave Trail Commission.

Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find a photograph.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

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3 comments… add one
  • Kevin Levin Dec 14, 2006 @ 12:11

    Charles, — It will indeed be interesting. The standard response from the Southern heritage folks tends to focus on the renaming of public places; however, keep in mind that the Arthur Ashe monument was an addition to the historical landscape and many still complained.

  • Charles Bowery Dec 14, 2006 @ 11:27

    Given the other “memory fights” that have occurred in Richmond, it will be interesting to track the reaction to this site. I’m thinking specifically of Arthur Ashe on Monument Avenue and the Canal Walk controversy with the Robert E. Lee mural.

  • BorderRuffian Dec 14, 2006 @ 8:13

    “The design features a one-ton statue surrounded by three rough-hewn benches, representative of wooden slave ships, designer Burt Pinnock explained. Near the fountain, he said, a small bridge will further symbolize the link between three regions: Liverpool, England, where slave ships set sail and where tobacco and other slave-produced products were imported; Benin, Africa, where slaves were captured; and Richmond, where they landed.”

    A monument in Richmond in regard to slavery is appropriate…

    …but there are other places in the New World with far more connection with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (which is what the monuments are about) than Richmond-

    Boston, New York City, Cuba, Brazil…

    Only 6% of the slaves that crossed the Atlantic came to the Southern United States/Colonies.

    Wasn’t it Virginia that voted to outlaw the African slave trade (Constitutional Convention, 1787) while Massachusetts and other New England states voted to continue it for another 20 years?

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