African Burial Ground & City Gallows

1540 E Broad St Richmond

From Civil War to Civil Rights/African Burial Ground & City Gallows
American Civil War Museum
Written By American Civil War Museum

The mission of The American Civil War Museum is to be the preeminent center for the exploration of the American Civil War and its legacies from multiple perspectives: Union and Confederate, enslaved and free African Americans, soldiers and civilians.

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From 1790 to 1812, this area served as a burial ground for free and enslaved people of color. Interstate 95 now covers the majority of the burial ground. Also, near here was the city gallows. On October 10, 1800, 24-year-old Gabriel Prosser was executed here. Gabriel an enslaved African American owned by Thomas Prosser, plotted a widespread rebellion to occur on the night of August 30. The plan was to seize the arms that were in the Capitol and at a nearby magazine, release the convicts in the prison, and capture Governor James Monroe. Uprisings were also planned to take place in Norfolk and Petersburg. However, on the night of August 30, a thunderstorm of terrible proportions caused Gabriel to postpone the attack for the next night. In the meantime two slaves—Tom and Pharaoh—of Meadow Farm warned their owner Mosby Sheppard. He in turn notified the governor and troops were called out. Gabriel managed to elude capture for several weeks but was ironically betrayed by another slave. In October 2004 a highway marker was put up to commemorate Prosser and in 2011,after the ownership of the property was transferred from MCV to the city of Richmond under the management of the Slave Trail Commission, the parking lot that had covered the area way removed as a first step in creating a memorial park. What more do you think should be done to memorialize this area?

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