After nearly 10 years of work and planning, the City of Richmond and the Slave Trail Commission has finally unveiled markers for the Richmond Slave Trail. Seventeen markers along the path were unveiled Sunday and display information on the history of slavery in Richmond.
The nearly 3-mile trail goes from the James River at the Manchester Docks at Ancarrow’s Boat Landing into downtown and Shockoe Bottom to Lumpkin’s Slave Jail. After the 17 markers were unveiled at each of the site at around 3 p.m., at least 150 people gathered at the notorious Lumpkin’s Slave Jail site for many dignitaries to speak and for the final unveiling.
Designed as a walking path, the Richmond Slave Trail is a walking trail that chronicles the history of the trade in enslaved Africans from Africa to Virginia until 1775, and away from Virginia, especially Richmond, to other locations in the Americas until 1865.
It begins at Manchester Docks, which with Rocketts Landing on the north side of the river was a major port in the massive downriver Slave Trade, making Richmond the largest source of enslaved Africans on the east coast of America from 1830 to 1860. It follows a route traveled by some of the thousands of Africans who made their journey south by crossing the James River chained together in a coffle, or by getting on ships to New Orleans. The trail then follows a route through the slave markets of Richmond, beside the Reconciliation Statue commemorating the international triangular slave trade, past Lumpkin’s Slave Jail and the Negro Burial Ground to First African Baptist Church, a center of African American life in Pre-Civil War Richmond.