WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — William & Mary has dedicated a brick memorial that recognizes people who were enslaved by the university.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the memorial is 20 feet high and 16 feet wide. It cost more than $2.9 million to build, including construction and material costs that were impacted by supply chain delays and construction inflation.
The university was chartered in 1693. It benefited from enslaved labor for 170 years.
It’s unclear how many people the university enslaved, but historians have discovered the names of more than 100 people owned by the college or its employees and students.
Enslaved people made the bricks that built the Wren Building, and they erected the building itself.
“Slaves were as inseparable a part of the college as the old bricks of the College Building itself,” Jennifer Oast wrote in a book about slavery in Virginia.
The design for the memorial, created by Richmond-based architectural firm Baskervill, was chosen in 2020. Richmond-based Kjellstrom & Lee built the memorial.
Its cost was covered by private funds and contributions from the board of visitors.