Memorial to the Enslaved at William & Mary
bring to light
open to view
This competition entry for a Memorial to the African American People Enslaved at William & Mary is an excavation bringing light to the foundations of the south side of the Wren Building and the college.
The act of exposing the foundations reveals the heinousness of chattel slavery to those buried in the vaults below this wing of Wren and to the living above. One enters the memorial via a ramp or stairs adjacent to the foundations of Wren and William & Mary. The wall which cuts the earth is to be constructed of polished stone panels with the names of the enslaved set in Optima type. The names of slave owners are noted at the bottom and beneath those whom they dominated in life. The smooth surface of the memorial reflects the image of the observer and reflects the brick facade of the Wren building behind the names of the enslaved. Most of the enslaved had only one name, they only identified many as male or female. From the south, the upward projection of the wall is edged by a landscaped berm, planted with African grasses. Bricks, fixed in concrete, signify the enslaved people’s role in creating William & Mary.