Between 1830 and 1865, Richmond, Virginia's Shockoe Bottom was the second-busiest hub of the American slave trade. The creek bottom that now sits near I-95 hosted auction houses, offices, and slave jails. Solomon Northup, whose memoir inspired the 2013 Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave, was held in Shockoe Bottom in 1841.
Since then, much of what was Shockoe Bottom has been lost to time, but the site still stands as a reminder of the suffering and injustice that took place there. It is also a symbol of endurance and resistance.
Today, the site is also threatened by the proposed construction of a minor league baseball stadium and other development.
In September 2014, the National Trust and Preservation Virginia convened local leaders and historians at President Lincoln's Cottage in Washington to discuss the future of Shockoe Bottom. They were asked why Shockoe Bottom is still relevant today, and what they would like to tell the mayor of Richmond about the development plans for the site. Here is what they said.
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