The Landscape

Though the pain of the trade was felt for generations, the places of the slave trade soon were repurposed, forgotten, or destroyed. After the Civil War, the site of Lumpkin’s Jail became the location of a newly established school for African Americans, thereby transforming the "Devil's Half Acre" into "God's Half Acre." The school flourished and later became Virginia Union University. The site of Lumpkin’s Jail, and the area where the trade was concentrated, was erased from the landscape through construction of Interstate 95. An archaeological excavation in 2008 revealed the foundations of Lumpkin’s Jail and the cobbled courtyard where many of those awaiting sale probably spent their days.

As the national discussion about remembering the slave trade continues, local efforts to memorialize Richmond's place in the American slave trade have included the formation of the Richmond Slave Trail Commission, an archaeological excavation on the site of Lumpkin’s Jail, and—with the recent proposal for a Shockoe Bottom ballpark—increased awareness of Richmond's role in the slave trade.