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Freedmen Memorial

death is the ultimate freedom. whether we speak of the death of slavery, death of a way of life, or physical death, the fact that things die offers the hope of new life. in this way freedom is the passage from subjugation made possible by the phenomenon of death.  a series of passages is embodied in this site - a passage of cultures, the passage from contraband into autonomy, and of course life into death. visitors to this site will undertake their own passage from the profane into the sacred, and in turn allow the passages of history to continue.

in order to respect both the lives of these people and the life of this site, this design attempts to articulate the existing conditions as they are.  the long (175’) promenade encourages contemplation as one moves upward (10’) experiencing this place from a variety of vantage points. this is to poetically suggest that the significance held in this place is complex and should be allowed to continue to evolve. both slabs are left in place and partially exposed, as it seems disingenuous to not acknowledge the disrespect that has also been imposed on this site, indicative of the disrespect that has been brought down on both african americans and native americans in this country. in this way the design suggests that by holding this place open and untouchable our experience and contemplation of this hallowed place form a new passage toward healing and respect. 

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