Forum discusses National Slavery Museum

Posted at 7:12 PM, Feb 18, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-19 18:48:01-05

RICHMOND,Va. (WTVR) - Venture down to Richmond's Shockoe Bottom, and you'll see the old Lumpkin's jail site, the Negro burial ground, and the Slave trial markers - documenting a dark path in this country's history.

"There's always going to be challenges and issues.  But you have to keep working towards it to make anything better," said Ashley Fisher.

Over time, this is how it could happen.

WTVR was the first to show you the images of the United States National Slavery museum slated to be built at 15th and Main Streets in Richmond.

The old Seaboard building behind Main street station will be part of a genealogy center filled with artifacts, historical documents and interpretations of the slave trade.

"We want people to be able to look at Richmond as home.  And finally say I want to go home and walk where my ancestors walked and learn a little bit more about the experience that they had and what they had to endure," said Delegate Delores McQuinn, Chair, Richmond Slave Trail Commission.

Delegate Delores McQuinn is spearheading the project.

Saturday, business, community and political leaders came together offering ideas and laying a foundation.

"I think this is a really amazing opportunity for us to begin to complete the story," said Bill Martin, Director of the Valentine History museum.

"With this age of technology now," said Lillie Estes,  "I think it's a great opportunity to just shift the paradigm in a more positive way."

Organizers say they're establishing a 501-C3 which will give them an opportunity to start fundraising.

But they believe it's more than just building a museum, they want to create a Heritage district in the area.  The challenge now is coming up with the cash.

"The community is going to have to understand particularly at that point," said McQuinn, "that every dollar is going to matter, every quarter is going to matter, every penny is going to matter in terms of developing this project ."

You can still get involved in the United States National Slavery Museum.  Another community forum will be held in the coming months.  In the meantime, Delegate McQuinn tells CBS 6, she's getting donations and even artifacts from the public.  Once the museum is built, organizers say it will all  be part of a $100 million investment, they hope will last a lifetime.