Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia

Community Voices

The Memorial to Enslaved Laborers will be sited on UVA’s grounds. But we understand the “audience” for the memorial to include the UVA community at large, the community of Charlottesville, including descendants of the enslaved workers, and visitors from around the world.

Community voices play a critical role in shaping the memorial project. Sharing those ideas, insights and requests enrich the dialogue about how to remember the contribution and lives of those African American’s who built, worked, and lived at the university. This ongoing dialogue aids in the further understanding of the conditions that fostered slavery and white supremacy.

Below are some of the thoughts and ideas for the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers that the community has shared in the design process thus far:

"This memorial cannot be the only public thing bearing weight of UVA's history - need more."

“Use the dedication to launch a community-UVA co-taught course on slavery in Charlottesville; Coming to the Table descendants, dialogues, etc.”

“Invite constant conversation and engagement by regularly hosting events – have this be a space for theatre, music poetry slams, dialogues, etc.”

"Perhaps the currently identified sites of the UVA Walking Tour can beam a life/light from each site into the sky converging at an apex. As more sites are found, then lights are added."

"The memorial should be visible. The enslaved laborers were marginalized. Therefore, the memorial should be prominently accessible, visible and memorable."

"This should be able to connect with the K-12 schools in the area and engage these students in the history of the university."

"It should be a happy, uplifting message about progress."

"The memorial should focus on a real family that actually suffered juxtaposed with descendants of that family who thrive today."

"It should be highly visible but putting it somewhere designed to detract from Jefferson (though tempting) would cheapen the message."

"I would like to see people walk away with a more thorough understand of present racial inequalities, and understand one individual more."


Recent news related to the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia

University of Virginia plans a large memorial commemorating thousands of enslaved people who worked there (The Washington Post)

Local Residents Mull Design Issues for UVA Memorial to Enslaved Laborers (UVA Today)

Insurance Policies on Slaves: New York Life's Complicated Past (New York Times)

Memorial to Enslaved Laborers
at the University of Virginia

Memorial to Enslaved Laborers
at the University of Virginia