The Richmond Peace Education Center endorses the Community Proposal for a Shockoe Bottom Memorial Park.
This proposal is the product of a five-month campaign of public brainstorming and working sessions led by the Defenders’ Sacred Ground Project, working in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Virginia, and other groups.
The proposal calls for a nine-acre Memorial Park in Shockoe Bottom covering a swath of history-laden land stretching two blocks east of the train tracks. The park would likely include an interpretive center, water features, gardens, pathways, monuments, educational markers, interactive technologies, contemplative and performance spaces.
The Peace Center has stood in support of efforts to preserve Shockoe Bottom in many different ways over the years, out of our commitment for peace and justice. Why? We understand that in order to heal from the trauma of our past we must acknowledge and examine the truth of that past. Richmond was the site of terrible trauma and violence as a center of the national slave economy. That history has remained hidden and under-acknowledged for far too long. It is important for us as a community and society to confront the painful past associated with this part of our city’s history.
Most of the Richmond slave trade took place in and around the nine acres that the Memorial Park would encompass. This key historical and archaeological site should be protected and preserved.
At the Peace Center we believe that city leaders are taking an important step in setting aside the Lumpkin’s Jail site, which we commend as a first step.
We believe, however, that it is absolutely necessary to build a larger scale commemoration and preservation footprint, given the importance of this history and the community’s strong support for a more comprehensive vision.
As Sacred Ground states eloquently: “A Shockoe Bottom Memorial Park, located within a day’s drive of half the country’s population, can be a national site for truth, compassion, freedom and progress….It can be a living Site of Conscience and a fitting legacy for this generation of Richmonders to gift to our children.”
The detailed proposal, and artist renderings,
can be found here.
To endorse the proposal yourself, click here.
To host a discussion of the proposal or otherwise lend support, contact SACREDGROUNDPROJECT@GMAIL.COM or call (804) 644-5834.