WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) — A finalized design concept has been unveiled for the Memorial to the African Americans Enslaved by William & Mary.
The university said in a news release that the memorial was presented to the Board of Visitors on Tuesday. Construction is slated to begin next year.
“The final concept design has the gravitas we sought. It gives dignity and presence to those who were enslaved by William & Mary and whose labor built the university – without romanticizing that painful history,” President Katherine A. Rowe said. “In the process of refining the design, we recognized that the memorial site will reimagine the Jamestown Road entrance campus. Both symbolically and actually, the first step for many on campus will be through this more forthright telling of our history.”
The memorial, “Hearth,” will resemble a brick fireplace and include the names of people known to have been enslaved by the university. It will be 16 feet wide, 45 feet long and 20 feet high.
The Board of Visitors will match the private funds raised for the memorial, covering the total cost of the project at $2 million.
William & Mary was planning its first Juneteenth celebration this year, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected to proceed next year near the site where the memorial will be constructed.