Dec. 7 Symposium Opens at 9 am!

Truth and Conciliation in the 400th Year: A Shockoe Bottom Public History Symposium

It's better if you can join us in person at the Library of Virginia, 800 E. Broad Street, but the symposium will be live-streamed on Facebook.

First, second and third: We end racism.
15 years ago the Defenders held a symposium in the sanctuary of Centenary United Methodist Church on Grace Street just a few blocks from here. Nine scholars and activists shared their research into the history of slavery in Richmond and Virginia highlighting Gabriel's rebellion mark the unveiling of a historic highway marker. A descendant of Gabriel's, Dr. Haskell Bingham, pulled the cloth from the marker that reminds people of the rebellion of 1800, of Gabriel and 25 others whose lives were taken because they challenged society's addiction to slave labor, and the burying ground where the gallows were erected and hundreds or thousands of free and enslaved black people would be buried until 1816. For the Defenders and many others, that day was the beginning of the struggle to reclaim, not only Richmond's African Burial Ground but Richmond's earliest Black history.

Today, December 7, 2019, the Defenders' Sacred Ground Project is proud to present the second symposium--at which twenty-one experienced researchers, writers, museum folk, activists will offer what they have learned since 2004. Each session will last 90 minutes, and we hope you will ask questions they may be able to answer, or, not. And if not, they'll go look it up and find out. But every time you ask, we will all gain or remember another truth and then we'll have to sort out what to do with it.

The Defenders have championed knowing our histories better, and the Memorial Park concept because we believe it can defend the nine acres remaining of the landscape that once held the epicenter of the domestic slave trade and it can spur equitable economic development that will benefit the African descendant people who were forged from their incredibly resilient ancestors. Some in the audience today may not agree and may have ideas of their own. Yet the history that will be presented today will strengthen your ability to determine what solutions are needed.