In all of American Shockoe Bottom is one of eleven singled out as endangered.
The put a stadium in Shockoe debate has moved to a back burner put still simmers and Mayor Jones as recently as last week has stated that the deal isn’t dead. News that the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Shockoe Bottom to its 2014 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places is likely to rekindle active debate. This is not the first endangered list for the area as Preservation Virginia also named Shockoe Bottom to its annual list of endangered places in the state.
From yesterday’s press release.
Shockoe Bottom was a center of the African slave trade between 1830 and 1865 — over 350,000 slaves were traded there. The area held slave jails, auction houses and businesses participating in the enslavement of men, women and children. Among the most notorious places in Shockoe Bottom was Goodwin’s Jail, where Solomon Northup, whose life was chronicled in the 2014 Oscar winning movie “12 Years a Slave,” was held after being kidnapped.
The group “Revitalize RVA,” is seeking to build a new baseball stadium, hotel and grocery chain store on top of this area. The “Bottom” is threatened because the resources cannot be seen – none of the buildings from the slave trade remain visible in these eight blocks. The artifacts of antebellum Richmond are below the surface, out of sight, waiting to reveal their painful but important history to future generations.
“We hope this designation as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places increases awareness nationally of Shockoe Bottom as a site of conscience, a place that offers the public a chance to experience, and learn from, this dark chapter in American history,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We need to identify a path forward for Shockoe Bottom, including meaningful public involvement and expert archeological analysis so that the historical remnants of the slave trade now buried there can be revealed and properly interpreted.”