Letter to the Editor: Court Square Slave Block Citizen Advocacy Group [CSSB group]

Contributed by Robert Gest III, Ed.D. | Colonel, USAF (Retired)

Recognizing the many months of work the Historic Resources Committee (HRC) and its Enslaved Descendant Community consultants have been engaged in, we respectfully wish to add our citizen collaborative voice to one key element of the project. We are asking City Council to re-establish the original area of Slave Block auction yard space where human beings were sold for over a century, as shown on the Court Square map of 1828. Today much of those additional nearly 500 sq. ft. is given over to two parking spaces.  Vehicles obstruct the public view of any obelisk or other markers/signage HRC plans for the space.

In conversation with Dr. Jalane Schmidt, who is co-leading the project, we learned that the exact square footage area under consideration for memorializing the Slave Block is still undetermined by HRC. 

City Engineer Brennen Duncan made an eyes-on inspection of the issue on October 27, 2021. He informed Richard Allan that the two parking spaces can be moved across the street just west of 500 Court Square’s entry door. Once he receives a directive from Council, Mr. Duncan would authorize Public Works to schedule and widen the curbside south of the slave market building by 8 to nine feet. We ask that this process begins at once, allowing HRC ample time to plan how to utilize the entire expanded space. Please scroll down the attached graphics to clearly understand this request.  

Signatories below represent members of the Court Square Enslavement Museum Group, the Justice Advocacy Ministry of Sojourners United Church of Christ, the Wednesday BLM Silent Vigil Group, 100+ signers of a petition endorsing memorialization of the corner, Veterans Service Corps, the Prolifyk Running Crew, as well as activist citizens who have spoken at City Council public meetings about BLM issues.

Please accept this as a formal request for prompt action by City Council. With thanks for your confirmation and sincerely yours,

Rev. Dr. Marvin L. Morgan, Interim Pastor, Sojourners UCC , Dr. Robert Gest III, (Col., USAF, Retired), Richard Allan, Tanesha Hudson, Susan Stone, Margaret Allen Morris, Dr. Paul Mack, Rev. Dr. Uriah J. Fields, Bev Wann, John Michael Henrietta,  Susan Oliveri, Dr. William Lankford, Kirk Bowers, Joyce Allan, Heidi Berthoud, Rosia Parker, Prof. Nicholas Brinen, Richard Parks, Lynda Fanning, James McKinley-Oakes, Emily Little, Cabell Coward, Donna Shaunesey, Dorene Stanley, Steven Kretzmann, Mark Heinicke, Cynthia Mitchell, Rev. Dr. David Garth, Jan Dix, Tom Stevens

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