A major ideology ingrained into the creation of Richmond’s Slavery Museum at Lumpkin’s Slave Jail is the ambiguous conceptualization of time, and the story of the plan begins in Shockoe Bottom.

The land in which Lumpkin’s Slave Jail stands and where National Slavery Museum will be erected is strategically place in Richmond financial and political epicenter. it is located in the neighborhood of Shockoe Bottom, which three blocks away from the Virginia State Capitol.1


The Purchase of Land

Bacon Tait, one of Virginia's largest enslavers, bought thirty-three acre plots of land in Shockoe Bottom and built a two-story home on the land worth $1900.2


1844- 1850
Lumpkin Buys Land

Bank of Virginia sells various lots on Wall Street to Richard Lumpkin. He continues to buy land, and  starts a business for the lodging of enslavers and selling of the enslaved. He would build a jail on the land for enslaved people who were in the process of being sold.3

Mary Lumpkin Takes Over

After the death of Richard Lumpkin, his Black widow, Mary Lumpkin takes over the land and leases it to a reverend who would hold seminary classes in the place that was formerly a jail. In 1873, Mary Lumpkin would sell the land to Andrew Jackson Ford, who would destroy the jail.4

Highway Erection

In order to build the Richmond and Petersburg Turnpike, parts of Lumpkin's Slave Jail is buried in the mist of construction.5

Slave Trail Commission

The Slave Trail Commission is established by the City Council.

Archaeological Dig

$5,000 dollars from the Virginia Department of Historic Resource, $5,000 from ACORN, and $3,500 from the Richmond Slave trail, is allocated to start an archaeological investigation on Lumpkin's Slave Jail. After finding remnants of the the jail, The Virginia Department of Historic Resources allocates $50,000 and the City of Richmond allocate $100,000 for further investigation of the city.6

General Assembly

The Virginia General Assembly "voted unanimously to express profound regret for the involuntary servitude of Africans and call for the reconciliation among all Virginians.8

National Slave Museum

The National Slavery Museum Foundation is created to exemplify and educate on the story of the Richmond Slave trade.7

Money for the Museum

Richmond City Council appropriated $8,050,00 to the design and construction of a Pavilion and National Slave Museum.9

  1. Matthew R. Laird, “Lumpkin’s Jail,” Encyclopedia Virginia (Virginia Humanities , 2020), last modified 2020, accessed December 3, 2021, https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/lumpkins-jail/.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid
  6. “Timeline,” Lumpkin’s Slave Jail Site / Devil’s Half Acre Project (Lumpkin Slave Jail Site Organization, 2020), last modified 2020, accessed December 3, 2021, https://www.lumpkinsjail.org/about/timeline.
  7. Ibid.
  8. rva.gov, “Lumpkin’s Jail/Devil’s Half Acre Site Development, Richmond Slave Trail Improvements, and Shockoe Hill African Burial Ground Acquisition,” Lumpkin’s Jail/Devil’s Half Acre, Slave Trail, and Shockoe Hill African Burial | Richmond (rva.gov, 2020), last modified 2020, accessed December 3, 2021, https://www.rva.gov/capital-improvement-projects/lumpkins-jaildevils-half-acre-slave-trail-and-shockoe-hill-african.

9. Ibid.