LOCATION: 15th and East Main streets.
ARTIST: Stephen Broadbent.
DEDICATION: March 31, 2007.
DESCRIPTION: The 15-foot, half-ton bronze sculpture — depicting two people melded in an embrace — was erected not far from Richmond’s former slave market in Shockoe Bottom. There are three large wood block benches that triangulate the statue and a cascading fountain with captions describing the significance of the statue.
The Benin Region of West Africa
Richmond, Virginia During the 18th Century, these three places reflected on of the well-known triangles in the trade of enslaved Africans.
Men, women and children were captured in West and Central Africa and transported from Benin and other countries. They were chained, herded, loaded on ships built in England and transported through the unspeakable horrors of the Middle Passage.
They were imported and exported in Richmond, Virginia and sold in other American cities. Their forced labor laid the economic foundation of this nation.
I was there the day of the unveiling of the statue and checked in from time to time the next week or so. After initially being concerned that someone might defile the statue, I was impressed that even little burning candles and flowers left at the base of the statue were left alone.
I haven’t been a Richmonder for most of the significant statues, so it felt good to be an observer during this process of building another stop along the Richmond Slave Trail. I still stop there on occasion, and I appreciate the message of this statue, and the significance of the trail itself.