Richmond VA > Council Slave Trail Commission

Last Updated: 2014-01-13

Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission

One of Richmond City Council's more than 55 official boards, task forces and commissions that it has created and that assists with providing oversight of certain projects and priorities, the Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission is a government entity of Richmond City Council that was established by Resolution Number 98-R 102-107, adopted July 13, 1998, as amended by Resolution No. 2000-R111-109, adopted July 24, 2000, as amended by Resolution No. 2003-R132-123, adopted July 14, 2003, as amended by Resolution No. 2003-R155-141, adopted September 8, 2003, as amended by Resolution No. 2004-R125-131, adopted June 28, 2004.

The purpose of the Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission is to assist Council with oversight and assistance in helping to preserve and present the history of slavery in Richmond. The Commission meets monthly and includes 17 members that are appointed by Council to serve for three year terms. The composition of membership is as follows:

The Commission shall be composed of seventeen (17) members. Such persons shall be appointed by the Council and shall serve for terms of three (3) years. The membership of the Commission shall include at least one (1) member of City Council, not less than three (3) members of the “Hope in the Cities” organization and a representative from the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. Any appointed Council members shall be given the first option of serving as the Chair of the Commission in order of their appointment. Five members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for meetings.

Richmond City Council provides annual staff assistance and financial support for the Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission. Council staff support includes providing fiscal management, public information, writing, publication creation, graphic design, special event and project management, promotions and fundraising. Additional staff support is provided by the Richmond City Administration through the Richmond Department of Economic Development, which includes project engineering and management.

Over the years, Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission has worked on a number of important projects, which have included:

  • 2011
    Unveiling of 17 Richmond Slave Trail Markers located throughout the Shockoe Bottom area of Richmond, marking sites that help tell the historic journey, human impact, and the role Richmond played in the tragic history of slavery.

    The Richmond Slave Trail Markers will serve to recognize the regrettable time in our nation’s history when parts of the United States allowed the enslavement of fellow human beings and an estimated 8 percent of U.S. families owned slaves just before the U.S. Civil War. The site of the event and location of one of the 17 markers, Lumpkin's Slave Jail was the largest slave-holding facility in operation in Richmond, Virginia from 1840 until the end of the U.S. Civil War in 1865. Prior to that time, Richmond was home to the largest domestic slave export business in the United States. Richmond was liberated when the Confederate Army surrendered the city, which was used as the Capital of the Confederacy, on April 3, 1865.

    Following shortly after the end of the U. S. Civil War, which ended in Virginia on April 9, 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States of America Constitution was adopted on December 6, 1865. This amendment officially abolished slavery. A precursor for this amendment was the Emancipation Proclamation, an Executive Order signed by President Abraham Lincoln, on January 1, 1863, which proclaimed the freedom of slaves living in states under Confederate control.

    Approved by the United States Congress on January 31, 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment was signed and approved by President Abraham Lincoln on February 1, 1865. The Constitutional Amendment was then sent to state legislatures for ratification and, on December 18, 1865, was officially ratified, therefore officially abolishing slavery in the United States of America.

    A precursor for this Amendment was the Emancipation Proclamation, an Executive Order signed by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, which proclaimed the freedom of people living in slavery in the 10 states, then in rebellion against the United States of America.

      The 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads as follows:

      Amendment XIII

      Section 1.
      Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

      Section 2.
      Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

  • 2009
    Development of the conceptual Richmond National Slavery Museum. Development of the Richmond Slave Trail Marker Program, Signage and Commemorative Site: Lumpkin’s Slave Jail
  • 2008
    Discovery of Lumpkin’s Slave Jail historic foundation and architectural artifacts.
  • 2008 - 2009
    Phase II Lumpkin’s Slave Jail Archaeological Assessment: which included engineering and storm water engineering
  • 2007
    Richmond International Unveiling of Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue on Friday, March 30, 2007, erected at 15th and E. Main Streets. Included design and construction of the Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statute plaza and erection of the statue. This project was part of a global initiative placing three statues in three countries. Dedicated to slavery reconciliation, the installation of the statue represents nearly 10 years of work between the City of Richmond, Virginia, USA (North America), Liverpool, England (Europe), and the Republic of Benin (Africa). A statue was erected in Liverpool in 1989 and the Republic of Benin in August 2005.
  • 2006
    Lumpkin’s Slave Jail Archaeological Assessment Lumpkin's Slave Jail was the largest slave holding facility in operation in Richmond, Virginia from 1840 until the end of the U.S. Civil War in 1865. During that time, Richmond was home to the largest domestic slave export business in the United States. Owned by Robert Lumpkin, the jail was a place that tens of thousands of African men, women and children were "stored" before being transported to slave owners living in states where slavery was legal. Following Lumpkin's death shortly after the Civil war, his common law widowed wife Mary Lumpkin, who was African-American, inherited the estate. In 1867, she leased the jail to Reverend Nathaniel Colver, who established a school for freed slaves at the site. Founded by the American Baptist Home Missionary Society and the National Theological Institute, the school grew into what is now Virginia Union University.
  • 2003
    Acquisition of Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue. For three quarters of the 18th Century, Virginia (North America), Liverpool, England (Europe), and the Republic of Benin (Africa) represented one of the largest global commercial trade triangles of enslaved Africans. Liverpool's shipbuilding industry provided the vessels that sailed to the Kingdom of Dahomey, now the Republic of Benin, where Africans were loaded on ships and transported to the Americas, with Richmond, Virginia being one of the major recipients.
Support

Richmond City Council provides annual staff assistance as available and financial support for the Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission. Council staff support includes providing fiscal management, public information, writing, publication creation, graphic design, special event and project management. Additional staff support is provided by the Richmond City Administration through the Richmond Department of Economic Development, which includes project engineering and management. Council financial support is provided through appropriations in the Richmond City Budget. This includes appropriations in the Richmond City Budget Capital Improvement Plan, Non-Departmental budgets and Departmental budgets. Funding is predicated on requests made by the Commission and as determined by Council.

An overview of estimated financial investments in the Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission, and some highlighted projects, are listed below per Fiscal Year (FY). The estimates reflect Richmond Government Budget - General Fund Budget and Capital Investment Projects disbursements.

  • FY 2013 (to 3/2013) - $59,290.69
    For general Commission support/and for development of the Richmond Slave Trail Marker Program; signage and commemorative site; Lumpkin’s Slave Jail/Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue
  • FY 2012- $80,931.46
    For general Commission support/and for development of the Richmond Slave Trail Marker Program; signage and commemorative site; Lumpkin’s Slave Jail/Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue
  • FY 2011- $190,258.66
    For general Commission support/and for development of the Richmond Slave Trail Marker Program; signage and commemorative site; Lumpkin’s Slave Jail/Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue
  • FY 2010- $102,311.43
    For general Commission support/and for development of the Richmond Slave Trail Marker Program; signage and commemorative site; Lumpkin’s Slave Jail/Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue
  • FY 2009 - $286,628.13
    For general Commission support ($30,000 - spent $5,124) and for development of the Richmond Slave Trail Marker Program; signage and commemorative site; Lumpkin’s Slave Jail; development of conceptual National Slavery Museum; and, paid sponsorship for Symposium at the University of Richmond for the Civil War Sesquicentennial/ Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue
  • FY 2008 - $51,212.28
    For general Commission support ($30,000 - spent $7,748) and for Phase II of Lumpkin’s Slave Jail Archaeological Assessment, which included $155,000 for earthmoving and $35,000 for engineering and stormwater engineering (floodplain and proximity to I-95 berm) and $150,000 for archaeological services to hire a vendor/Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue
  • FY 2007 - $493,439.48
    For general Commission support ($11,000) and design and construction of the Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statute plaza; erection of the statue; and, the International Unveiling of the Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue
  • FY 2006 - $31,535.44
    For Richmond Slave Trail Brochure Creation/Printing Phase I of Lumpkin’s Slave Jail Archaeological Assessment/Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission support/Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue
  • FY 2005 - $113,599.83
    For Richmond Slave Trail Brochure Creation/Printing Phase I of Lumpkin’s Slave Jail Archaeological Assessment/Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission support/Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue
  • FY 2004 - $1,000
    Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission support/Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue
  • FY 2003 - $41,445
    Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission support/Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue

Additional financial, staff and archeological support has also been provided by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Alliance to Conserve Old Richmond Neighborhoods, and a number of corporate, nonprofit and individual financial sponsors.

Contact Information:

Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission
900 E. Broad St., Suite 200
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Phone: (804)698-1070
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