Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre Site Development, Richmond Slave Trail Improvements, and Shockoe Hill African Burial Ground Acquisition

Project Summary and Scope

This project was amended in October 2020, to include three projects that are related to the City's initiative to recognize and commemorate the role of enslaved African's in the development of Richmond and Richmond's role in the domestic trade in enslaved Africans.  These projects are also part of the larger Heritage Campus announced by the Mayor in July 2020 and the Shockoe Small Area planning process.  The Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre project is for the design and construction of a pavilion, museum, or other commemorative structure to protect and interpret the archaeological site at Lumpkin's Jail uncovered in 2006 and 2008.  The construction of a museum, and its development and operations will be dependant upon private fund raising efforts.  In 2016, the Virginia General Assembly approved $10M in reimbursable funds for this project.  A million was designated for design development and $9M for the construction of a museum and a pavilion at the Lumpkin's site to be reimbursed upon completion of the project.  The funds for design were drawn down in 2017.

The Richmond Slave Trail was established in 1994 and has been enhanced over the years with trail improvements and interpretive signage.  These funds will be used to make necessary safety and lighting repairs to the trail and construct a trail head at Ancarrow's Landng.  In 2016, the Virginia General Assembly approved $1M in reimbursable funds for this project.  Approximately, $99K of these funds were drawn down in 2017.  An easement across Norfolk Southern property will be required before the trail repairs can move forward but work on the trail head can begin as soon as drawings have been approved.

The acquisition of 1305 N. 5th Street was added to this project in 2020.  This property is a portion of the Shockoe Hill African Burial Ground that was established by the City of Richmond in 1816.  Between 1816 and 1879, approximately 21,000 souls were buried here.  Over the decades the property has been desicrated by a number of public projects and was sold in the 1960s for use as a gas station.  The property will be purchased at tax sale auction in February 2021 after which a public engagement process will begin to determine how best to preserve and commemorate this property.  There will also be additional historic and archaeological investigation.  The City was the successful bidder at the tax sale auction but are awaiting a final decission by the courts due on April 15, 2021.

The 2021 Session of the General Assembly allocated an additional $9M for construction at the Heritage Campus.  The Governor has not signed the bill as of 3/18/2021.

Reimbursement Request 1 totaling $273,761.78 was submitted to VaDGS in September 2016 and Reimbursement Request 2 totaling $825,272.29 was submitted to VaDGSin November 2017.  These reimbusements total $1,099,034.07 leaving a balance of $900,965.93 to reimburse expenses related to Richmond Slave Trail Improvements.  The full $1M related to the development of the Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre site have been drawn down.

The Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre site (E0000127005) was acquired wth federal funds which will require Section 106 Review of all proposed development on the site.




Part of the Project Written Studies, Reports, Presentation

Project Milestones

SmithGroup hired October 10, 2017

Planning for Community Collaboration on-going, Community Collaboration Kicked Off in March 2017, Statement of Purpose launched April 8, 2017 and Visitor Experience launches May 10.

1994 Unity Walk Commission established by the City of Richmond, evolved into the Slave Trail Commission

Project Funding

  • $1 million allocated by Virginia General Assembly for Lumpkin’s Jail/Devil's Half Acre Design/Development (100% reimbursed in 2017/balance $0)
  • $1 million allocated by Virginia General Assembly for Richmond Slave Trail Improvements ($99,034.07 reimbursed in 2017/balance of $900,965.93 )
  • $9 million allocated by Virginia General Assembly to be reimbursed upon project completion ($4 million towards Lumpkin's Jail Site, $5 million towards a "Slavery Museum")
  • $9 million allocated by Virginia General Assembly (2021) to be used for construction and can be drawn down once approved construcitn documents are in hand.


Project Status Updates

Website for project:


SmithGroup in Washington DC and their team of subconsultants were hired in 2016 to design a pavilion or museum at the Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre site.   they held a series of community collaboration meetings in 2017 to develop a Statement of Purpose and Visitor Experience Plan and launched the project website ( Concept designs for a National Slavery Museum on the Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre site were submitted to the City of Richmond in 2018.  A phase 2 scope of work and contract modification will be issued in January 2021 for the necessary site analysis at the Lumpkin's Jail/Deil's Half Acre site to determine buildability of the site.

VHB and Baskervill completed designs for improvements to the Richmond Slave Trail and the construciton of a trail head at Ancarrow's Landing in 2018.  An easement across Norfolk Soutern Railroad property is needed before work will comment.  A contract was released in November 2020 for the necessary survey work to negotiate an easement.

1305 N. 5th Street will be sold at tax sale auction in February 2021.  The goal is for the city to purchase the property at auction and then begin the process of community engagement to determine how to commemorate the site, conduct additional historic and archaeological analysis of the site, and fund raising.

Other projects within the scope of this project include the Lumpkin’s Jail Richmond Speaks Community Engagement Process (completed ).  The addition of signage and trail markers on the Richmond Slave Trail and the stabiliaztion of the Winfree Cottage.

  1. 2015 Slave Trail Improvements - Pathway Markers installed (completed)

Pavement Marker

Pathway Stand Mounted                                                                                    



Permit, information is listed below. For details please call the Department of Planning, Development and Review at 804-646-4169.

There are no permits necessary at this time.

Expenses (costs are reported quarterly)

Query on Code:

5008118/500391 Slave Trail Funding

500573                 Heritage Center/Lumpkin’s Jail

Project Contact Information, if you have questions about this project please contact this individual.

  • City of Richmond, Deputy Chief Administrators Office -- Economic Development and Planning, Kimberly Chen 804.646.6364

Performance Measures and Benchmarks

1998 City Council established the Slave Trail Commission

2003 Reconciliation Statue acquisition

2004 Slave Trail brochure and branding designs begin

2005 Slave Trail brochure and branding distributed throughout the community and Tourism Centers.

2006 Lumpkin’s Jail Archaeological Assessment

2007 Reconciliation Statue unveiling

2007 Virginia General Assembly voted unanimously to express profound regret for the involuntary servitude of Africans and called for reconciliation among all Virginians

2008 Lumpkin’s Archaeological Excavation backfilled utilizing geotextile fabric liners to protect the site until it can be protected and revealed.  Commemorative Landscape and Interpretation of the original site installed

2009 – 2010 Slave Trail Marker design, approvals, historical research

2009 - 2010 Richmond Speaks -- Master Planning all Slave Trail sites and Museum concept underway with LORD Cultural Resources and Burt Pinnock, community engagement and stakeholder meetings begin

2011 Slave Trail Marker unveiling – 21 markers unveiled

2013 Broad St. Gateway 14th to 18th infrastructure project conceptual design and funding committed including ADA access to Burial Ground site and Lumpkin’s Jail

2013 The National Slavery Museum Foundation (501C3) established with a mission of preserving and interpreting authentic sites of significance in Richmond to tell the story of the domestic and transatlantic slave trade

2013 Master Plan of the Slave Trail sites presented to Governor McDonnell by Mayor Dwight C. Jones, requesting funding and support

2014 Slave Trail Pathway Markers designed, design approval received

2014 General Assembly and City Council commit funding to the Lumpkin’s Jail Site and Richmond Slave Trail Improvements

2014 Improvements underway to the Manchester Docks/Ancarrow Landing, trail head of the Richmond Slave Trail – Exxon Mobile partnership

2015 Slaves Going South – Library of Virginia displays artifacts from Lumpkin’s Jail publicly for the first time in partnership with the Slave Trail Commission, artifacts placed in storage (on loan) at the Library 

Project Overall Status (Active, Pending or Complete)


Ordinance Information

Ordinance 2020-213 -- amended CIP Budget to include Lumpkin's Jail/Devil's Half Acre, the Richmond Slave Trail, and 1305 N. 5th Street

Ordinance 2020-240 -- Declare public necessity to authorize the acquisition of 1305 N. 5th Street

Ordinance 2020-194 -- established funding for the Enslaved African Heritage Campus


Contract Information

See attachments posted.

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