The design of a new Memorial to Enslaved Laborers (MEL) on the grounds of the University of Virginia marks a critical moment to address the complex history of the University, slavery, and the country. It directly responds to a deep need to address an untold and uncomfortable history – one that is still very much a difficult, though necessary, national conversation on race. The goal of the Memorial is to create a physical place of remembrance and a symbolic acknowledgement of slavery and offers a place of learning and a place of healing.
The Memorial was designed as part of a collaboration between Howeler + Yoon Architects, Studio&, Gregg Bleam Landscape Architect, Eto Otitigbe, and had thoughtful input from many more. During this program, Alice Raucher and Mary Hughes (UVA Office of the Architect), Mabel Wilson (Studio&), and J. Meejin Yoon (Höweler + Yoon Architects) will discuss the unique process that made this project possible.
The session will describe the momentum of the project, beginning with student-led initiatives as early as 2010, the ideas competition, final design resolution, and the guiding work of the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University (PCSU). Participants will also learn of the robust community engagement process, including descendants of the enslaved and how the shared vision informed each element of the Memorial’s design.
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