After nearly 10 years of work and planning, the City of Richmond has finally unveiled markers for the Richmond Slave Trail. The nearly 3-mile trail goes from the Manchester Docks at Ancarrow’s Boat Landing into downtown and Shockoe Bottom to Lumpkin’s Slave Jail.
Seventeen markers along the path were unveiled April 8, 2011, and display information on the history of slavery in Richmond. The project cost $220,000.
Markers along the trail include this description:
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 thes 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.
POINTS ALONG THE TRAIL
1. CROSSING THE ATLANTIC: Wooded trail along river bank – access from Ancarrow’s Landing Boat Slip Eastern edge of parking lot
2. MECHANICS OF SLAVERY: Wooded trail along river bank
3. DESPAIR OF SLAVERY: Wooded trail along river bank
4. CREOLE REVOLT: Wooded trail along river bank
5. NATIVE MARKETS: Wooded trail along river bank
6. SLAVERY CHALLENGED: Top of access road near 300 Brander Street
7. RICHMOND’S BURGEONING TRADE: Maintenance area off of access road along floodwall
8. TRANSITIONS: East side of Hull Street (14th Street) north side of flood wall on access road – 1 Hull Street
9. MAYO’S BRIDGE: 14th Street Bridge (aka Mayo’s Bridge) at Mayo’s Island – 510 South 14th Street
10. USE OF ARMS: Richmond Canal Walk at the bottom of the southwest 14th Street stair access
11. KANAWHA CANAL: Pedestrian Bridge over Richmond Canal Walk southeast of intersection of Dock and 15th Streets
12. AUCTION HOUSES: Southeast corner of 15th and Cary Streets
13. RECONCILIATION STATUE: Northwest corner of 15th and Main Streets
14. ODD FELLOWS HALL: Northeast corner of 15th and Main Streets
15. LUMPKIN’S JAIL: West side of Main Street Station Parking Lot between Franklin Street and East Broad Street
16. RICHMOND’S AFRICAN BURIAL GROUND: Near intersection of N. 16th Street and East Marshall (at west side of parking lot)
17. FIRST AFRICAN BAPTIST CHURCH: Corner of Broad and College Streets
An excerpt from Summer 2007 on the Slave Trail from DiscoverRichmond.com [See more at RichmondOnTheJames]:
The City Council established the Richmond Slave Trail Commission in the late 1990s to raise the level of awareness and informational accuracy about Richmond’s role in the slave trade. Although the first slaves arrived in Virginia in 1619, Richmond did not play a major part in the business of enslavement until after the United States banned the importation of Africans from oversees in 1808. Businesses emerged to fill the demand for the purchase, sale, and delivery of enslaved African-Americans.
Realizing a general lack of knowledge about the slave trade — once so integral to Richmond — the Slave Trail Commission developed a walking trail that would physically outline the paths countless slaves traveled on their demoralizing journey through forced servitude.
Research uncovered the existence of several dozen slave businesses in Shockoe Bottom along with the long-vanished Burial Ground for Negroes and the site of Lumpkin’s slave jail: the tragic landscape where many enslaved African-Americans were severed from their families.