A group of Collegiate seniors who are taking the River City Capstone class visited the Richmond Slave Trail this week with faculty members Rhiannon Boyd and Brad Cooke in their ongoing efforts to understand the James River and its impact on the Richmond region.
As part of their experience, the legendary Ralph White, former Director of the James River Park System, led our students along the Slave Trail to depict the path and understand the experiences of enslaved people who arrived at the slave docks at Ancarrow's Landing 400 years ago.
Students walked the roughly 3-mile trail, from the dock landing to Lumpkin's Jail near Richmond's Church Hill community, and had an immersive and curated experience exploring some of the forces that shaped Richmond in its earliest days. Mr. Cooke and Mrs. Boyd took time the day after the field trip to process the activity with the seniors, who shared their thoughts on sticky notes during class. Here are some of their sentiments.
"I thought about all the wrongdoings that are a part of our past. Some of the things we heard/learned about were really difficult to process..."
"I think more people should have the same experience that we did."
"I wonder what we, as the future generation, can do to further RVA's education about the Slave Trail and the history that comes with it."
"Who will make the trail better? What is the next step?"
"What percentage of high school students know anything about the trail?"
"I wonder how we can look and move towards the future while also making the past a more significant vantage point."