Richmond receives grant for Shockoe Bottom history site
Richmond’s efforts to commemorate and educate about the city’s role in the domestic slave trade have received a large financial boost, $16 million from the Mellon Foundation’s Monuments Project.
The largest chunk, $11 million, will go towards the creation of a new interpretive center. The welcome center and exhibition space will be placed inside Main Street Station, where a huge glass shed currently serves as an event space.
It’s physically located in Shockoe Bottom, the area of the city that was once home to the second largest site of human trafficking in North America. Government and community leaders have long discussed plans for a museum and memorial here.
In a video announcement Tuesday, Mayor Levar Stoney says the goal is to immerse all audiences in the full history of Shockoe and Richmond.
“This is the first step toward bringing the larger Heritage Campus into fruition, which will include a memorial park and with state and philanthropic support a national slavery museum,” Stoney said.
The Mellon Foundation also gave grants to several community-led efforts to research and highlight Black history in both Richmond and the state as a whole. Those include the JXN Project, which has been working to tell the story of Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighborhood, and Untold RVA.
“We have a responsibility to tell the entire story of Richmond’s role in the slave trade and the lives of those enslaved and free people who helped build Richmond,” said Stoney in his announcement.
This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.