On Saturday, January 18th, we held our first meeting of the year. We were fortunate to have Dr. Angela Sutton present and showcase a variety of emotionally moving monuments around the world created to memorialize the experiences of enslaved populations. Dr. Sutton shared these projects as a context for the potential that lies before the city of Nashville as plans are considered for a monument/memorial at Ft. Negley.
Dr. Sutton discussed the following sites:
Monumento a la abolición de la esclavitud in Puerto Rico – erected in 1956, the “Monument to the Abolition of Slavery” acknowledges the country’s legal abolition of slavery in 1873.
House of Slaves (Maison des Esclaves) and the Door of No Return in Senegal – opened in 1962
Le Marron Inconnu de Saint-Domingue in Haiti – completed in 1967 in remembrance of the rebellion in Saint-Domingue against slave-holding France in 1791
a monument for the 1763 Berbice slave uprising in Guyana, finished in 1976
Bussa Emancipation Statue in Barbados – created in 1985
Door of No Return in Ouidah, Benin – established in 1994. This memorial arch is also a UNESCO Slave Route site, like Fort Negley
Emancipation monument in Curacao – finished in 1998
Redemption Song in Jamaica (2003) – named after the Bob Marley song
Ark of Return – UN Headquarters in NY (2015) – commissioned by the
United Nations in collaboration with the UNESCO Slave Route Project
I Am Queen Mary (2018) in Denmark – the statue is a monument to Mary Thomas, a woman who was enslaved in St. Croix and coordinated a slave revolt in which 50 plantations were burned
Each of these monuments is worth learning about and we encourage you to research them and their significance. Dr. Sutton’s talk and review were inspiring as fodder for the ultimate question: How could we help the world to understand the experience of Nashville’s enslaved and their descendants?
We thank Dr. Sutton for her presentation and let us all use this as an opportunity to contribute our voices for what could be at Ft. Negley.