City News

Stoney administration commits $25-50M for commemoration, memorialization of “complete history”

First investment of $3.5M to fund Shockoe Area Memorial Park campus

Surrounded by members of the Shockoe Alliance, Mayor Stoney committed to funding a capital improvement budget amendment of between $25 and 50 million in the city’s five-year CIP plan specifically for the commemoration and memorialization of Richmond’s complete history.

The mayor asserted that the shared priority of the Shockoe Alliance and city leadership is embracing and telling the truth about Richmond’s history, centralizing the turmoil, resistance, resilience and triumphs of Black Richmond. 

“Black lives built this city. Black lives have defined Richmond’s history. They matter,” said the mayor. “The story of Black lives should span our skyline, our landscape and our textbooks accordingly.”

Priority investments will include the Shockoe Area, various African American burial grounds and the Slave Trail. The effort will begin with a $3.5 million investment in the Shockoe Area Memorial Park. 

The memorial park, a vision developed by the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project – a member of the Shockoe Alliance – and informed by years of community work in the area, will use greenspace and structural sites to create a space of memorialization, education and atonement. The Shockoe Alliance is currently preparing a Small Area Plan for Shockoe which includes the Shockoe Campus concept as part of a larger preservation and memorialization-focused vision which will incorporate the memorial park, a museum and other features. 

The space will encompass the African American Burial Ground, the Devil’s Half Acre site and the two blocks east of the railroad tracks that may constitute a future archeological site.

“In this city, we care about our history. We are our history, no matter how painful that may be to confront, and we are committed to telling our full story,” said Mayor Stoney. “That story, and so rightfully that investment, begins here. On the ground of Shockoe, and in honor of our ancestors.”