Stoney introduces ordinance to amend Devil’s Half Acre project
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration introduced an ordinance during the Sept. 28 city council meeting to amend the proposed Capital Improvements Projects for FY2020-2021, expanding the scope of the Heritage Center/Lumpkin’s Jail - also known as Devil’s Half Acre - project.
The amendment proposed the city acquire 1305 North 5th Street, which historically served as part of the burial ground for free people of color and slaves.
If the Devil’s Half Acre project is approved, it would include:
- A pavilion and museum at the Devil’s Half Acre Site
- Planning requirements for the proposed Heritage Center
- Design of and improvements to the Richmond Slave Trail and Trail Head
- The acquisition of 1305 North 5th Street and the extension of the Slave Trail to that property.
“The city has the opportunity to practice real restorative justice in this moment,” said Stoney. “The next steps for recognizing Richmond’s complete history must include the acquisition of 1305 North 5th to better memorialize the Burial Ground for Free People of Colour and Slaves, a sacred space to many Richmonders of African descent.”
Stoney said the work done by advocate Lenora McQueen, Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project and the Slave Trail Commission have been vital in the preservation and memorialization of sacred spaces.
“The preservation of the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground is crucial because it is the final resting place of more than an estimated 22,000 enslaved and free people of color,” said Ms. McQueen, a genealogist and member of the descendant community. “These people are the ancestors of many people living today, and the burial ground is likely the largest of its kind in the United States. It has suffered many atrocities over time and continues to be threatened.”
The ordinance has been referred to the City Planning Commission for discussion and recommendation at their Oct. 5 meeting.
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