An Urgent Appeal to all people of good will to help prevent plans to put a baseball stadium in Richmond's Shockoe Bottom, one of the most important historical sites for people of African descent in all of North America.
Looking forward to April 3rd!
Richmond Mayor Jones is misrepresenting the facts. Toward the end of the successful, many years long struggle to reclaim Richmond’s African Burial Ground, Jones met with the administration of Virginia Commonwealth University, which at the time operated a parking lot on the site, and accepted the university’s offer to set aside a small sliver of land for the city to commemorate the cemetery. VCU was to keep parking cars on the rest of the 3.1-acre site. At the time, Jones was running for mayor and had not been part of this fight in any way. His action here was simply designed to curry favor with VCU, the city’s largest employer and the economic engine for Richmond’s downtown. The community refused to accept this compromise, kept up the struggle and eventually forced the state to reimburse VCU $3 million to transfer the entire lot to the City. By that time Jones was mayor, and he officiated at a ceremony to begin the removal of the parking lot asphalt – a self-serving act of grandstanding that was boycotted by the community activists. Today Jones is promoting a $200 million developers’ plan that includes a publicly funded stadium to be built in the heart of Shockoe Bottom, once the site of the country’s second-largest slave-trading district. No one wants baseball to move from its current site on the street called the Boulevard where it has been played for 60 years. The only reason for the move is to get the stadium off its current prime real estate location so that a small group of wealthy white developers can get their hands on it. Jones has claimed that no sites related to the slave trade lie within the Shockoe Bottom development plan, even after the conservative local newspaper ran a four-page feature story about the Richmond slave trade and its nearly 100-related sites in the Bottom. Four such sites lay within the footprint of the proposed stadium itself, including the jail owned by William Goodwin where Solomon Northup was held for a night on his forced journey to New Orleans. Jones’ claim that the development project is intended to create jobs and alleviate poverty is a complete farce. He has done virtually nothing to alleviate that poverty and in fact is promoting a plan to break up the city’s public housing projects, leaving 10,000 of Richmond’s most vulnerable residents without a place to live. So what we have here is a Black Baptist minister/mayor of the former capital of the Confederacy promoting the desecration of one of the most important sites to the country’s Black community as the city approaches the 150th anniversary of its liberation by Union forces and the ending of some 200 years of slavery in Richmond. The community-based opposition is putting up a tremendous fight, but we absolutely need reinforcements from outside Virginia. One way to help is to please sign and promote the online petition opposing the stadium at: http://www.shockoebottom.blogspot.com. And, just as the Virginia Union University story is important to the history of Black education after the end of slavery, so is it important to honor the lives of those of our ancestors who lived enslaved all those hundreds of years before slavery ended. It is because they lived, survived and persevered that we live now. The story of Shockoe Bottom is bigger than Lumpkin’s Jail and our African Burial Ground. You should see it. Let’s not lose it before you do.Written in response to the following story on Black America Web: http://blackamericaweb.com/2014/03/06/little-known-black-history-fact-richmond-mayor-dwight-c-jones-refutes-ballpark-construction/
So glad y'all are on this. I don't trust Jones as far as I can throw him. He seems to have no regard for his own heritage.
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