Berkeley Professor to Design Emory University’s Memorial to the Enslaved

Walter Hood

In 2021, Emory University announced plans to develop memorials on its Atlanta and Oxford campuses to honor the enslaved individuals who are part of Emory’s history. The university has selected the Hood Design Studio of Oakland, California, to develop plans for the memorials.

Greg L. Fenves, president of Emory University, stated that “Hood Design Studio blends scholarship with a deeply creative artistic practice, envisioning monuments that touch both the mind and heart. I have experienced their work in person, and it is thought-provoking and profoundly moving. The Twin Memorials will honor the untold stories of the enslaved individuals who are part of Emory’s history. By partnering with Hood Design Studio and continuing to engage with our community, especially descendant families, we will develop memorials in Oxford and Atlanta that will create understanding and inspire reflection for generations to come.”

Under the leadership of creative director and founder Walter Hood, the studio has created transcendent installations across the country since 1992, including the landscape architecture for the recently opened International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina.

“Our goal is to create memorials that reflect the history, memory, and realities of Emory and these sites specifically,” Hood said. “The final memorials will ensure that the campuses and the surrounding community are imbued with meaning while telling their own unique story.”

Professor Hood is chair of the department of landscape architecture and environmental planning at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2019, Hood was selected as a MacArthur Fellow. He is the co-author of the book Black Landscapes Matter (University of Virginia Press, 2020).

Professor Hood is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. He holds two master’s degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master of fine arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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  1. I’m curious about whether Emory will offer reparations beyond memorials to descendants responsible for its foundations. Something similar to what Georgetown is doing, offering free tuition to descendants would be apropos.

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