Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre Site Development, Richmond Slave Trail Improvements, and Shockoe Hill African Burial Ground Acquisition

Project Summary and Scope

This project was amended in October 2020, to include three projects that are related to the City's initiative to recognize and commemorate the role of enslaved African's in the development of Richmond and Richmond's role in the domestic trade in enslaved Africans.  These projects are also part of the larger Heritage Campus announced by the Mayor in July 2020 and the Shockoe Small Area planning process. 

The Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre project is for the design and construction of a pavilion, museum, or other commemorative structure to protect and interpret the archaeological site at Lumpkin's Jail uncovered in 2006 and 2008.  The construction of a museum, and its development and operations will be dependent upon private fund raising efforts.  In 2016, the Virginia General Assembly approved $10M in reimbursable funds for this project.  A million was designated for design development and $9M for the construction of a museum and a pavilion at the Lumpkin's site to be reimbursed upon completion of the project.  The reimbursable funds for design were drawn down in 2017. 

The Richmond Slave Trail was established in 1994 and has been enhanced over the years with trail improvements and interpretive signage.  These funds will be used to make necessary safety and lighting repairs to the trail and construct a trail head at Ancarrow's Landing.  In 2016, the Virginia General Assembly approved $1M in reimbursable funds for this project.  Approximately, $99K of these funds were drawn down in 2017.  An easement across Norfolk Southern property will be required before the trail repairs can move forward but work on the trail head can begin as soon as drawings have been approved.

The acquisition of 1305 N. 5th Street was added to this project in 2020.  This property is a portion of the Shockoe Hill African Burial Ground that was established by the City of Richmond in 1816.  Between 1816 and 1879, approximately 21,000 souls were buried here.  Over the decades the property has been desecrated by a number of public projects and was sold in the 1960s for use as a gas station.  The property will be purchased at tax sale auction in February 2021 after which a public engagement process will begin to determine how best to preserve and commemorate this property.  There will also be additional historic and archaeological investigation. 6-2021: The City was the successful bidder at the tax sale auction and the deed for the property was recorded in April 2021.  3-2022:  The Shockoe Hill Burying Ground Historic District which includes the African Burial Ground was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and referred for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. 6-2022:  The budget was amended to allocate $500,000 for the planning and design of the memorialization of the site.

6-2022:  The project scope was amended to include additional work at the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground, see above, and the Winfree Cottage.  The Winfree Cottage was the home of an enslaved woman, Emily Winfree and her children.  The house was moved to Shockoe Bottom from Manchester in 2002 to save it from demolition.  The budget amendment sets aside $500,000 for the moving of the cottage back to south Richmond, and its repair and interpretation.

6-2021: The General Assembly revised the terms of the funds allocated to the City for the Slave Trail and Lumpkin's Jail site museum so that the funds can be used for planning and design activities and released by Virginia Department of General Services.  There is currently a balance of $12.5M.

The Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre site (E0000127005) was acquired with federal funds which will require Section 106 Review of all proposed development on the site.


Part of the Project Written Studies, Reports, Presentation

PDF icon Map showing project locations that are part of this project

PDF icon Museum design analysis for the Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre site

PDF icon Landscape concept development for the Lumpkin's Jail/Devils Half Acre site

PDF icon Concept design for the Museum on the Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre site

PDF icon Landscape design concept for the Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre site

PDF icon Preliminary Information Form for listing of the Shockoe Hill African Burial Ground on the National Register of Historic Resources

PDF icon Base Map of the Shockoe Hill African Burial Ground and 1305 N. 5th Street

Project Milestones

SmithGroup hired October 10, 2017

Planning for Community Collaboration on-going, Community Collaboration Kicked Off in March 2017, Statement of Purpose launched April 8, 2017 and Visitor Experience launches May 10.

1994 Unity Walk Commission established by the City of Richmond, evolved into the Slave Trail Commission

Project Funding

  • $1 million allocated by Virginia General Assembly for Lumpkin’s Jail/Devil's Half Acre Design/Development 
  • $1 million allocated by Virginia General Assembly for Richmond Slave Trail Improvements ($99,034.07 reimbursed)
  • $9 million allocated by Virginia General Assembly to be reimbursed upon project completion ($4 million towards Lumpkin's Jail Site, $5 million towards a "Slavery Museum")


Project Status Updates

Website for project:

SmithGroup in Washington DC and their team of subconsultants were hired in 2016 to design a pavilion or museum at the Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre site.   They held a series of community collaboration meetings in 2017 to develop a Statement of Purpose and Visitor Experience Plan and launched the project website ( Concept designs for a National Slavery Museum on the Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre site were submitted to the City of Richmond in 2018.  A phase 2 scope of work and contract modification were issued in January 2021 and the necessary site analysis at the Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre site.  6-2021: site analysis has begun to determine buildability of the site.  A Geotech report from Schnabel Engineering has been received. A final site analysis report from the SmithGroup is anticipated by  January 2022.

VHB and Baskervill completed designs for improvements to the Richmond Slave Trail and the construction of a trail head at Ancarrow's Landing in 2018.  An easement across Norfolk Southern Railroad property is needed before work on the trail will commence but work can begin on the trail head.  A contract was released in November 2020 for the necessary survey work to negotiate an easement.  6-202: the survey has been completed. Discussions with NSR for an easement have been initiated.  

1305 N. 5th Street will be sold at tax sale auction in February 2021.  The goal is for the city to purchase the property at auction and then begin the process of community engagement to determine how to commemorate the site, conduct additional historic and archaeological analysis of the site, and fund raising.  6-2021 the property has been acquired by the City of Richmond.  The Mayor's office will coordinate internal discussions for the planning of improvements to the site.

Other projects within the scope of this project include the Lumpkin’s Jail Richmond Speaks Community Engagement Process (completed ).  The addition of signage and trail markers on the Richmond Slave Trail and the stabilization of the Winfree Cottage.

  1. 2015 Slave Trail Improvements - Pathway Markers installed (completed)

Pavement Marker

Pathway Stand Mounted                                                                                    



Permit, information is listed below. For details please call the Department of Planning, Development and Review at 804-646-4169.

There are no permits necessary at this time.

Expenses (costs are reported quarterly)

Query on Code:

5008118/500391 Slave Trail Funding

500573                 Heritage Center/Lumpkin’s Jail

Project Contact Information, if you have questions about this project please contact this individual.

  • City of Richmond, Deputy Chief Administrators Office -- Economic Development and Planning, Kimberly Chen 804.646.6364

Performance Measures and Benchmarks

1998 City Council established the Slave Trail Commission

2003 Reconciliation Statue acquisition

2004 Slave Trail brochure and branding designs begin

2005 Slave Trail brochure and branding distributed throughout the community and Tourism Centers.

2006 Lumpkin’s Jail Archaeological Assessment

2007 Reconciliation Statue unveiling

2007 Virginia General Assembly voted unanimously to express profound regret for the involuntary servitude of Africans and called for reconciliation among all Virginians

2008 Lumpkin’s Archaeological Excavation backfilled utilizing geotextile fabric liners to protect the site until it can be protected and revealed.  Commemorative Landscape and Interpretation of the original site installed

2009 – 2010 Slave Trail Marker design, approvals, historical research

2009 - 2010 Richmond Speaks -- Master Planning all Slave Trail sites and Museum concept underway with LORD Cultural Resources and Burt Pinnock, community engagement and stakeholder meetings begin

2011 Slave Trail Marker unveiling – 21 markers unveiled

2013 Broad St. Gateway 14th to 18th infrastructure project conceptual design and funding committed including ADA access to Burial Ground site and Lumpkin’s Jail

2013 The National Slavery Museum Foundation (501C3) established with a mission of preserving and interpreting authentic sites of significance in Richmond to tell the story of the domestic and transatlantic slave trade

2013 Master Plan of the Slave Trail sites presented to Governor McDonnell by Mayor Dwight C. Jones, requesting funding and support

2014 Slave Trail Pathway Markers designed, design approval received

2014 General Assembly and City Council commit funding to the Lumpkin’s Jail Site and Richmond Slave Trail Improvements

2014 Improvements underway to the Manchester Docks/Ancarrow Landing, trail head of the Richmond Slave Trail – Exxon Mobile partnership

2015 Slaves Going South – Library of Virginia displays artifacts from Lumpkin’s Jail publicly for the first time in partnership with the Slave Trail Commission, artifacts placed in storage (on loan) at the Library 

Project Overall Status (Active, Pending or Complete)


Ordinance Information

Ordinance 2020-213 -- amended CIP Budget to include Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre, the Richmond Slave Trail, and 1305 N. 5th Street

Ordinance 2020-240 -- Declare public necessity to authorize the acquisition of 1305 N. 5th Street

Ordinance 2020-194 -- established funding for the Enslaved African Heritage Campus


Contract Information

See attachments posted.