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News :: Historical Reclamation

10/9 Sacred Ground: Stories of Resistance and Rebellion

The Richmond Defenders for Freedom, Justice, and Equality held their 3rd Annual Commemoration of Gabriel's Rebellion and Sacred Ground on October 8-9, 2005.

Last year, the Defenders unveiled the only public memorial in Richmond to the slave organizer/insurrectionist Gabriel at 15th and Broad streets. The events are in part a commemoration of the 205th anniversary of the execution of Gabriel in Shockoe Bottom after his plan of a slave rebellion was discovered. Gabriel is celebrated for his intense desire for freedom, his broad and inclusive sense of justice, and his great skill in organizing hundreds to fight for liberation. He was 24 years old when executed by Virginia in 1800.

The events this year focused on Sacred Ground and the campaign to stop the proposed stadium construction in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom. Shockoe Bottom was once an east coast epicenter for the slave trade. Rivaled only by New Orleans and Natchez, Miss., Shockoe Bottom played a central role in with buying and selling of Africans into slavery for generations. There is a proposal to build a baseball stadium and “Market Village? in this area. The Defenders and others are fighting to turn the same area into a public remembrance of the function Shockoe Bottom played in the slavery system.


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