3.11.2008

Design for the Contraband and Freedmens Cemetery Memorial

Contraband was a term used during the American Civil War referring to a black slave who escaped to or was brought within the Union lines whil Freedmen was a term used referring to an individual who had been freed from slavery.

For the next month and a half we're going to be working on submitting something for this:

The Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery Memorial Design Competition seeks design
submissions from architects, landscape architects, artists, students, and other interested individuals to memorialize and honor those who are buried at Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia. The site was established in 1864 as a burial ground for African Americans who fled slavery, seeking a safe haven.

More than 1,800 people were buried there over the five years that the federal government managed the cemetery. After 1869 the cemetery may have been used unofficially by families as a burial ground but was likely not maintained formally. Over the years, the site has been compromised and hundreds of graves lost from a number of actions: the removal of soil from the cemetery for brickmaking; the adjacent development of two major highways; and the construction of a gas station and office building on the sacred site. Most people were unaware that a burial
ground survived under the pavement on the commercial property until historical research began to reveal the presence of the cemetery in 1987. Community interest and archaeological investigations over the last ten years have resulted in an appreciation for the cemetery, the largest historic African American burial
site in the city, and its long forgotten story. While other physical sites that recalled the once-considerable African American presencein Alexandria have been lost, the City of Alexandria acquired the property in 2007 in order to remove the buildings, reclaim the cemetery, and create a memorial.

perhaps i'll be brave enough to post whatever we come up with =).

4 Comments:

Blogger Addictive Picasso said...

What a project: and what a site. Would love to see some images of the site, esp evidence of how it has been "compromised". Know where I might find them?

23.4.08  
Blogger yamani said...

actually if you click on the title of the post, it should link you to the competition home page. There are tons of images on the site as a part of the packet.

23.4.08  
Blogger Brian said...

i also worked on this project, I am just wondering what sort of idea you came up with?

30.4.08  
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9.2.10  

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