Lupita Nyong’o Campaigns for Preservation of Historical Black Site
“Twelve Years a Slave” actress Lupita Nyong’o is calling for the termination of plans to build a baseball stadium in what once was the center of Richmond, VA’s thriving slave trade.
Lupita took to her Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to share her opinion with her nearly 4 million followers. This was done by Lupita in an effort to create national awareness and national discussion of the issue arising in Shokoe Bottom.
Lupita and the Richmond residents feel that the building of the baseball stadium at Shokoe Bottom, the oldest neighborhood in the city, is a way of erasing the pass and covering up the shame of slavery. On her Facebook page Lupita wrote:
“The tactic of the enslaver was to systematically erase all memory of the African’s past; let us not repeat this ill by contributing to the erasure of his past in America too. Though this history is ugly and unjust, Shockoe Bottom is a site of conscience, a place where we can bear witness to the human rights abuses of slavery, learn from the lessons of history, and spark a conscience in people so that they can choose the actions that promote justice and lasting peace today.”
Lupita personally appealed to Richmond mayor Dwight C. Jones in a letter that asked him to withdraw his support of the proposed building plans. In the letter Lupita wrote:
“I learned recently that the “Revitalize RVA” program intends to construct a minor league baseball stadium, among other commercial structures in Shockoe Bottom, over the archaeological remains of America’s second-largest slave trading center. I write to ask you to withdraw your support of such a venture. “
And yet you are no stranger to the cause for education and the advancement of society through knowledge. On top of being an accomplished scholar yourself, during your term as mayor, you have seen to the construction of four schools in Richmond. I am confident that these schools are intended to engage students in understanding and interpreting our shared history, stimulating their minds about social issues that concern them, and promoting humanitarian values. A preserved Shockoe Bottom can be an integral part of these students’ unique educational experience
We would be appalled if a casino was built over Gisozi in Rwanda, a mega mall was constructed over Robin Island in South Africa, or new condos were erected through the gates of Buchenwald in Germany. Let us therefore not have a baseball stadium sit atop the legacies of slavery at Shockoe Bottom.”
Shokoe Bottom holds a special place in the heart of Lupita Nyong’o. The location was featured in “Twelve Years a Slave.”
The film depicts the life of Solomon Northup, the freed black man who was kidnapped into slavery whose tale is told in “12 Years a Slave,” spent a brief period jailed in Shockoe Bottom.
Lupita has demonstrated what a philanthropic tool “fame” can be. Lupita has taken the forefront of this fight, and is urging her fans to join her and call for a cease and desist in the building of the Shockoe Bottom baseball stadium.
This post was written by Reginald Calhoun. Follow him on Twitter @IRMarsean.