Hearth: Memorial to the Enslaved

LOCATION

Williamsburg, Virginia

SERVICES

Architecture | Masterplanning | MEP Engineering

To commemorate and honor those enslaved by William & Mary, the university worked with artist Will Sendor and Baskervill to design a memorial to recognize the men, women, and children who built, operated, and maintained the historic campus. Titled Hearth, the memorial evokes a brick fireplace, a symbol of both community and the center of domestic enslavement; its asymmetrical void meant to receive the community yet also embody the emptiness of slavery. Red range bricks reflect those found across historic campus, while 198 engraved black granite blocks “identify” the current named, known, and unknown individuals enslaved by the university. These blocks are meant to signify souls and are a record of the existence of an enslaved person, but many are blank because individual identities remain unknown. An additional 400+ unengraved stones are incorporated in the design, and will be engraved as names are uncovered with continued research and study. The pattern created by the purposeful mixing of the granite and the brick together is inspired by cloth and art patterns of western Africa as a small way of restoring some generational identity to the souls memorialized. It was of critical importance to William & Mary that the memorial be located on Historic Campus. In its completion, the memorial and surrounding area reimagine the Jamestown Road pathway to the university’s Historic Campus, positioned across the street from the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

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