The College of William & Mary Soliciting Ideas for a Memorial to the Slaves That Worked on Campus

The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, has launched a competition to solicit conceptual ideas for a Memorial to African-Americans Enslaved early in the educational institution’s history. The college, founded in 1693, is the second oldest institution of higher education in the United States, next to Harvard.

After submissions close on October 12th, a jury of nine art history and museum professionals will choose their top three ideas and present them to William & Mary president, Katherine A. Rowe. President Rowe will then pick her favorite of the three and present it to the Board of Visitors so planning for the construction can begin, pending their approval.

The new memorial is just one of a series of initiatives by William & Mary to investigate the university’s relationship with the African-American community. Nine years ago, the university started the Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation, which has uncovered the histories of many men, women, and children enslaved by the university and has shared those findings at annual programming, events, and courses. President Rowe believes that “a physical memorial to the enslaved will be a critical addition to the campus landscape. It will allow the campus community to continue to learn of their contributions and remember them — for all time coming.”

The design competition proposal states that the winning concept “must create a powerful and lasting tribute to the memory of the people who built and served the university, and it must be both conceptually noble and buildable.” A $1,000 prize will be given to the winner and the second and third place submissions will receive $750 and $500 respectively. Anyone who wants to submit an idea can view the submission details at the competition website.

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  1. No Sculpture, Memorial, Monument , erected to the African Americans on this side of the Atlantic will suffice to clearly tell the REAL STORY OF THIS COUNTRY’S CO-FOUNDERS, BUILDERS, GROWERS, WHATEVER! My honest recommendation is that The University initiate the MAJOR RE-WRITE OF AMERICAN HISTORY, LONG OVERDUE, that would accurately reflect the pivotal, major and on-going contributions to THIS AMERICA, that Our People made and have continued to make in spite of…For example, WE WERE PARTNERS IN BUILDING THE SO CALLED MAJOR COLLEGES /EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN AMERICA. We built them, maintained them with FREE SKILLED LABOR and yet history is written as though we didn’t exist, that we had no part in the growth & development of this America. The print of our hands, blood sweat and tears is in EVERY PART OF THIS COUNTRY’S PHYSICAL, CULTURAL, SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT. This INTITATIVE is in reality the only “MONUMENT OF INTEGRITY” that matters. We have got to stop pretending with MAN-MADE “SYMBOLISM”
    Peace. Bebe Coker

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