Reclaiming Our Sacred Ground


Originally published in the Autumn 2018 edition of the Virginia Defender, issue 58, printed November 8. Reproduced here for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Autumn 2018 issue or to download the full PDF, see this post (pending). For the full web catalog, see our Full Issues page.

Queen Nzinga, right, speaks and pours water from a container while Ana Edwards, left, holds a microphone for her. They stand outdoors among fallen leaves.
Photo by Phil Wilayto.

Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor conducts a traditional West African libation to open the 16th annual Gabriel Forum at Richmond’s African Burial Ground. To her left is Ana Edwards, chair of the Defenders’ Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project. The event is held every Oct. 10 to spiritually stand with the great slave rebellion leader Gabriel on the anniversary of his execution near this site in 1800. Some two dozen people attended the event, during which participants rededicate themselves to reclaiming and properly memorializing Shockoe Bottom, once the epicenter of the U.S. domestic slave trade.

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