The city is one step closer to solidifying its plans to memorialize Shockoe Bottom’s slave-trading history.
Lord Cultural Resources, a consulting firm the city hired to oversee its “Richmond Speaks” series, published a 72-page “Key Findings” report, marking the end of a four-month-long public engagement period for the highly anticipated $13 million project at the Lumpkin’s Jail site. The report, which contains many of the same conclusions as a draft report released in December, details input from more than 2,000 “engagements” organizers had at seven public meetings, eight classroom visits at city high schools and 1,345 unique visitors to its website.
Among the new information was polling results from a Dec. 10 meeting at the University of Richmond hosted by Mayor Dwight C. Jones' adminstration. Eighty-six percent of attendees support or strongly support expanding the scope of the memorial beyond the Lumpkin’s jail site.
That has been the main ask of the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, which has called for Jones to consider an alternative plan that would situate a nine-acre heritage park in the Bottom.
The new report does not go into specifics of what will happen at the site, only priorities for the development: “Expansive; community-focused; educational; authentic; interactive; and sustainable.”
“Many walked into the conversations brimming with anger – incensed with the idea that any development would take place on, what most agreed, is sacred ground,” organizers wrote. “Others came with the hope that now the citizens of Richmond and the Commonwealth of Virginia were finally willing to face another facet of their past.”