Island of Memory
Memorial to the Dehumanization and Murder of African Slaves within the United States of America
Graduate Thesis Design | 2008
This thesis began when I was traveling through Europe studying monuments and memorials of WWII. As I was there I began to notice similarities between the treatment of Jews in 1940’s Europe with the treatment of African slaves in 18th and 19th century America. When I returned home I had hoped to compare the Jewish memorials in Europe to memorials to slavery here in America. However, this was not possible as there was no monument or memorial to slavery in America. My thesis proposal is a to create the first national memorial to slavery that would preserve the memory of a culture for which, for over two hundred years, faced immeasurable oppression, torture and murder.
We, as Americans and even more as human beings, are responsible for the actions of our past and must make every effort possible to amend or apologize for the actions of our country. Slavery is an issue that pertains to all of humanity and its importance far outweighs any cultural or social difference. African Americans share a different understanding of our history, however slavery is a part of our global history as human beings. It can and should be addressed by all people.
I feel that the greatest power of a memorial is its ability to educate current and future generations of people of man’s inhumanity to man. The lessons learned from this memorial may guide future generations away from the atrocities of the past and promote a more peaceful approach to embracing our differences and understanding our similarities. This memorial will not take away the pain and sorrow endured by slaves. However, my hope is that this project will help in ameliorating one part of a much greater issue.