Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at The University of Virginia

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The proposed plan of the Memorial. [1]

The Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at The University of Virginia is being established to remember the contributions that an estimated 5,000 enslaved African Americans made to the University during its construction in the 1800's.[1] The Memorial will be located near the anthropology building on The Corner, within the "Triangle of Grass," on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.[2] The University depended on the work of enslaved laborers to build many landmarks and buildings such as the notable Rotunda.

The memorial will feature the names of 973 people known as enslaved laborers, as well as placeholders for more than 4,000 people who have yet to be identified. [3]

Formation

The idea for a memorial was proposed by a student-led group from the University in 2010. In the fall of 2016, the University selected and hired Howeler+Yoon to be the design consultant along with Dr. Mabel O. Wilson (Studio&), Gregg Bleam Landscape Architect, and Dr. Frank Dukes. [4] The Charlottesville community was consulted for ideas and input for the Memorial and the idea for a granite ring with names inscribed was selected.[5] In 2018, the Board of Visitors approved the design and fundraised.

Construction

Construction for the Memorial is currently underway and and hopes to be completed in the spring of 2019. There is a live webcam of ongoing construction featured on the Memorial's website here.

Serpentine walls located near the Rotunda that were built by enslaved laborers.[6]

Significance

The significance of the Memorial is that it acknowledges the key role enslaved laborers had in constructing the University. Despite the difficult past of the University and the role of race, the Memorial beckons remembrance and understanding of the endless contributions laborers gave to the University. The work of the enslaved laborers began with the construction of the Lawn in 1817 and concluded with the end of the Civil War in 1865. The enslaved laborers were responsible for "clearing land, molding and firing bricks, transporting quarried stone, fetching water, stacking wood, scrubbing fireplaces and windows, and completing daily chores for UVA students and professors."[7]

References

  1. Web. Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, President's Commission on Slavery and the University, retrieved March 25, 2019.
  2. Web. Design - Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, University of Virginia, retrieved March 25, 2019.
  3. Web. The Future of Grounds in Eight Projects, Caroline Newman, News Article, UVA Today, November 22, 2019, retrieved November 23, 2019.
  4. Web. Design - Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, University of Virginia, retrieved March 25, 2019.
  5. Web. Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, President's Commission on Slavery and the University, retrieved March 25, 2019.
  6. Web. Pavilion Gardens - University of Virginia, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, retrieved March 25, 2019.
  7. Web. Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, President's Commission on Slavery and the University, retrieved March 25, 2019.